If it adds value, do it. If it doesn't, don't. No need to overthink @jeffsonderman's suggestion for adding NT to tweets

Published 2011-11-09

Note: This post is similar to comments I made on Jeff Sonderman’s post and on Matthew Ingram’s post about the subject.

On Tuesday, Jeff Sonderman began to wonder if there’s a problem with Twitter’s retweet options — automatic, manual and modified — when it comes to journalists and that thing called opinion.

Put another way:

Are these three types of retweets sufficient for journalists? Do they allow a conscientious reporter to responsibly retweet information without implying opinion or omitting facts?

So Sonderman’s idea Sonderman’s post was to add “NT” to the list, “for the times when they want to repost something but don’t want people to read anything into their motives.”

The thought isn’t different from some that Jeff Jarvis and Robert Niles both brought up back in March when they wondered if there couldn’t be some kind of convention on tweets from breaking news events and situations

Say someone was an eyewitness at news event — as opposed to sitting at their desk — they’d append an “!” to a hashtag. Frankly the ideas weren’t bad, and were praised in the comments of the posts.

I don’t know if NT is the answer to anything. It seems to be getting quite a few people offering a thumbs-down to the idea and railing against the AP trying to control the actions of its members on a new medium or the suggestion of a “solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”


All I know is we hear everyday about how we can do a better job of adding more information, more context — value — to our work for our audience, users and readers.

So here’s a novel idea. Do you think using NT adds value to what you are doing as a journalist on twitter? Please, go ahead and use it. Don’t think it adds value? Then you don’t need to use it.

Adding value... to tweets. I read something about that somewhere recently.

“We want to be tweeting with value,” Chris Hamilton, BBC News’ social media editor, told me of the move. “Are we exposing our best content, and also tweeting intelligently?” Simply sending out a story is an important first step in Twitter practice, particularly in an environment that finds more and more people getting their news through social channels. But then: “What can we add to that story?”

Related: A ‘Twitter style’ for journalists?