How to Use Pictures with Tweets to Report on News

I have spoken recently about using pictures in your tweets to engage people and build followers. Including pics with your tweets keeps people up to date on your life, and actually adds value. It’s fine to say that – but why is it true? Over a long period of time, if people know they have pictures of your life to go with your words, they will be more likely to follow you and listen to what you have to say, because they have visual pictures in their head that are associated with your life. They may feel a little more like they know you as opposed to someone whose life they have not seen before in pictures.

If you are attending, or have been assigned by a news organization to cover, an event that people may care to know about, then consider live tweeting it. On many occasions I have learned from people that they appreciate the periodic or rapid updates that tweets provide. Many people say that they enjoy watching an event unfold through the lens of tweets. I feel that focusing the lens further by adding pictures to the scenario is a great way to further add value and interest to followers. As I have learned throughout my years as a journalist, added benefits like this add value that people do not soon forget.

Case Study: Exotic Erotic Expo 2009

I’m not really into the sexual bondage scene, but thousands of people who attend the Exotic Erotic Ball at San Francisco’s Cow Palace each year certainly are. The event is essentially a chance for exhibitionists, gawkers and the curious, to come together a week before Halloween to have fun. Tila Tequila and Coolio graced the stage this year. In year’s past Snoop Dog showed up and pleased all the half-dressed fans.

1.) Beginning, Middle and End

Try to tell the story of the event you are covering in such a manner that people can see your experience there, from its start to its end. When I went to the ball, I made sure to tweet the first thing of note that I saw, which was the group of protesters stationed out front who wished to let the attendees know that they were, in fact, going to hell because of their decisions in life. The only thing that disappointed me about the shot was the heavy glare coming from the upper right, which made the shot not as good as it could be. At least it was usable – and informative. As a journalist, who wants to give people interesting information about events, I felt I had already given my followers their money’s worth. (Thank God they aren’t paying anything)

2.) Highlights of Your Stay

No matter what you do and what you see at a news event, it’s important to give updates as you go about happens. You’ll know what to take pictures of when it happens. That’s what occurred with this picture, in which somebody displayed what was one of the more funny Halloween costumes of the night. You do not, by any means, have to have pictures with every tweet you send. But some scenes just scream – “Take a picture of this and tweet it.”

In addition to that gem, I also took pictures of people entering the arena, laser light shows, and some of the more randy action on the stages in the VIP lounge. I also took a picture of the main stage, which didn’t turn out so great because of the smoke that was everywhere. All of the pictures are in the gallery at the end of this post.

3.) Make Sure to Mention Who Brought You

I would not have been able to go had I not been an employee of SF Weekly and Village Voice Media, where I worked as a social media strategist. Therefore, it was imperative to mention in one of my tweets that SF Weekly had helped to put on the event by being a sponsor.

If you are representing an organization at a news event, it is important to brand yourself so people who are following you know you are working in an official capacity. In this particular tweet, I made sure to mention @SFWeekly. That alone caught the eye of the web editor there, Alexia Tsotsis, who immediately retweeted the thing – and gave me twice as many views.

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