Describe your relationship with Twitter.
Twitter is, honestly, my favorite social media platform. I’ve been able to customize it in a way that works for me to monitor news AND use it personally. It’s really easy for me to keep my thumb on what’s happening, and I have notifications on for almost 200 accounts. I have them set for accounts that are news-related like Patrick Svitek, but also just ones that bring me joy, like Thoughts of Dog and Frog and Toad Bot.
One of the things that brought me to journalism is that I love the power of knowledge and being informed on things. I like to be the one to tell others something is happening. Twitter has been that tool for me. Over the 10-plus years I've been on Twitter, the platform has grown a lot. It truly is a place where journalists, editors, and news organizations can make tons of content native to the platform. There’s more space to share all the information and important details in a Tweet. The caveat is the space limit, but the character limit has gone up. Plus, you can do Twitter threads, you can put Tweets in Moments, you can have live conversations [on Spaces], you can stream video — there's a lot more you can do on the platform. Some people still just treat it as a place to Tweet links and Tweet text, so there's room for everyone to realize the platform's full potential.
And if we could grant wishes, with the exception of the edit button, what’s the one feature you’d ask for?
I would mandate alt text. It blows my mind how many professionals who have the resources to include alt text don’t do it. My colleague Regina Mack, a leader in the industry, taught me everything I know about accessibility, and it just makes the whole timeline more accessible.
Throwing friendly shade at other accounts — yay or nay?
Yes, but only if everyone is having fun!
Including more than one hashtag — yay or nay?
Yes, but two max.
Using emojis to replace words — yay or nay?
Sparingly but yes, and make sure to keep accessibility in mind. I always think, “How will a Tweet full of emojis sound if it’s being read out loud to someone?”
How do you prioritize the different functions of your Twitter account?
Twitter is an urgent space. Context is the biggest priority for us because Texas is often making national news, and we try to provide that context ASAP. It’s the best way for your audience to have faith in you that you’re giving them the most important information first.
We use Twitter Moments when there is national news happening in Texas because we can include our journalism and the context to explain it to those in and out of the state. Our goal is to have our social feed reflect all the most important journalism, so we have a policy that we share links from other news organizations, too. Our staff size isn’t infinite; we’re not going to have every single story, and if there’s an important story that matters to our audience, I want it on our social feeds regardless of whether or not it came from our site. It’s a big way to participate in public conversations.