#MoSOTS: A Live-tweeting Experience

I’ll admit, I’m a Twitter addict.

My Twitter feed is one of the first things I check each morning and one of the last things I check every night. I get much of my news from the dozens of news sources I follow. I keep up with friends — both near and far — by reading their random thoughts and looking at the Instagram pictures they post. I tweet often about news, experiences and random life observations.

Last night, however, was the first time I had ever live-tweeted anything.

Another education reporter, Caroline, and I were asked to live-tweet education proposals discussed in Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address and Missouri House Representative Tim Jones’ GOP response. We met our editor and assistant city editor in the newsroom at about 4:30 p.m. (although, let’s be honest, we were both already there working on other stories anyway) and began conducting background research. We logged onto Twitter so we could begin tweeting, monitoring the hashtag we planned to use (#MoSOTS) and following other hashtags such as #MOleg (for Missouri legislation). We extracted information from a cellphone photo a public life reporter had sent us from Jefferson City of a handout he received at the address. We found the address of the live-stream of the address. Then, we waited. And waited.

However, the rush of stress and excitement quickly made up for all that waiting.

We didn’t have the prepared transcript until about 15 minutes into Gov. Nixon’s address, meaning we had to listen very, very carefully because we had no idea what would be discussed next. When an education issue was discussed, our fingers constantly scurried across the keyboard, summarizing on the spot and quoting what we could remember verbatim. After we got the prepared transcript, using quotes became a bit easier, but we still had to pay attention to the status and content of the speech.

I tweeted a total of 33 times in about an hour and a half. Here are some of my favorites:

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At the end of our live-tweeting session, we used the tweets (along with articles containing background information and copies of the prepared speeches) to write a story summarizing Nixon’s education proposals.

Though it was stressful at times (such as when I realized I added an extra comma somewhere, which irked me as a copy editor), I really enjoyed live-tweeting. It was a great way to get information out to readers as well as engage in conversation with and see opinions from others around the state. It also confirmed my interest in taking the community outreach class before I graduate. Hopefully, I’ll get to live-tweet a few more times this semester (and, to please my inner copy editor, not have any misplaced punctuation).

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