Twitter: A Primer for New Users

What are you doing? That's the question at the top of every page on Twitter and millions of people are answering that question all day long. Live 5 News is no exception.

We offer three primary accounts you can follow for news updates: Live5News, myLive5News and Live5Weather. Live5News is manned by a real person, usually Live 5's Digital Content Director Cameron Easley and Digital Content Producers Ray Rivera and Philip Weiss. The account is full of updates about news that is just coming into the newsroom. The second account is an RSS feed of every story posted to Each tweet has a link to take you directly to a story, if you want to read more. And Live5Weather is manned by the guys in the Weather Center who provide you with forecast information and severe weather updates.

We also have several reporters, anchors, photographers and producers on Twitter, so be on the lookout for them.

If you're already on Twitter, follow us. We will follow you back because we're always looking for great story ideas or things going on where you are.

What if you're not on Twitter? Then this section is for you.

Don't think of Twitter as another social networking site like MySpace or Facebook. Think of it as a tool, like the telephone or email or text messaging.

Twitter has a silly name, but then again, so does Google. What Twitter offers are news feeds for individuals. People can share links and ideas, or ask questions and offer advice in a steady stream of updates limited to 140 characters each.

Others can reply to those updates, or resend them.

The people who use Twitter can send updates from their computers or their phones, and those updates will appear instantly. Sometimes, these updates are mundane; sometimes they are useful. It's up to the individual.

Reporters send updates about what they are working on. Celebrities send updates about current projects. Businessmen provide insight into their companies. Politicians discuss policy and legislation. Your friends might talk about what they had for lunch, or how what they think of the movie they just saw.

You choose who to follow, just like others choose whether or not to follow you.

Because these updates are so short, Twitter is sometimes called a microblogging tool.

The real power of Twitter is how people use it during events when many people get together and start sending updates about a single topic -- a plane crash, a breaking news story, a new product, and so on. Often, during events like those, people from within the story will send out updates from the scene.

Twitter is also searchable, which means you can look for updates about specific topics, people or events and see results in real time from thousands of individuals.

One caveat: Many organizations use Twitter as a marketing tool. So, remember when you follow an organization, you may just be subscribing to the equivalent of junk mail. But, if it is a topic you are interested in - go for it.

Who's On Twitter? Live 5 News has a large number of reporters, producers, sales staff and others on Twitter providing updates from everything going on at Live 5 News. Here's the complete list:

@Live5News - This is the main account for everything Live 5. From here you can get updates on breaking news as they happen and pictures from the field.
@Live5Weather - This is the weather account for Live 5. Chad, Bill and Brad all update this account every day, keeping you up-to-date on everything weather-related.
@MyLive5News - This is the Live 5 RSS feed. Every story posted on will pop up here, providing you a link to the story.
@Live5Insider - This is your inside look at what's going on at Live 5 and at CBS. Get updates on shows, promos that are coming up, and interesting bits of information about the station. Check out the Live5Insider blog, too.
@policereporter - Harve is our crime reporter and also does the Most Wanted segment.
@Live5NewsBoss - James is the News Director at Live 5 News.
@KekeCollins - Keke is the Fox News at 10 co-anchor and a reporter.
@RaphJames - Raphael is the 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Live 5 anchor and co-anchor of Fox at 10.
@KevinLive5 - Kevin Bilodeau is a sports reporter and anchor.
@MarkLive5News - Mark is a nightside and weekend reporter.
@AlanLive5News - Alan is the morning reporter.
@Live5EP - Melissa is the Executive Producer for Live 5 News.
@JChadWatson - Chad is the AM Meteorologist and one of the station's Mac fans.
@AnnMcGill - Ann is the anchor of the Live 5 morning newscasts with Bill Burr.
@ThunderGolf - Brad Miller is one of our meteorologists.
TVshooter5 - Craig is one of the Live 5 photographers.
@DChard - Debi is one of our anchors for the evenings.

Helpful hashtags:

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They're like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (#) and a specific tag.

In Charleston, most of the news organizations have agreed upon a standard of news-based hashtags to let members of the community, and each other, keep track of what's going on around town. Here are a few of the most commonly used hashtags:

Breaking News = #CHSBRKG: News that is either happening live, developing, or
has just come to your attention.

News = #CHSNEWS: A general news category for non-urgent but newsworthy

Sports = #CHSSPTS: Primarily for game scores or breaking news related to

Traffic = #CHSTRFC: Traffic reports.

Food = #CHSEATS: Eating and drinking is such a big deal locally that we
needed a food category.

Cheap and/or free = #CHSDEAL:

Happenings = #CHSCOOL: Anything cool or fun, coming up or happening live; an interesting scene, a great concert, etc.

Weather = #CHSWX: The two-letter tag is non-standard but widely used.

Business = #CHSBIZ: Business news.

Politics = #CHSPOL: Statehouse updates, municipal political news, and more.

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