How the Associated Press uses Twitter & Facebook

The Associated Press uses social media both to gather and disseminating information, approaching each social network differently.  “Part of what we’re doing is sharing content in a curated way,” Eric Carvin, the AP’s social media editor, tells DigiDay. “It helps as news gathering; if we’re looking to find someone who has amateur video, we put out a call and a good chance we’ll hear back from people.”

“When big news breaks, (Twitter is) one of the first tools we turn to to see if people are on the ground there, to get right to — and looking for — expert sources,” said Carvin….

The AP also uses Twitter for promoting its own reporters, as well as its other social accounts. A big part of its overall strategy, according to Carvin, is to highlight the expertise of AP people around the world….

The AP finds that Facebook, not Twitter, is the best social tool for engagement. It has five or six accounts that actively communicates with its fans. It also does a lot of crowdsourcing on Facebook.

Carvin highlighted the AP’s use of crowdsourcing memories for the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. He said they received dozens of responses that were thoughtful and interesting, and in a nimble move, decided to take many and put them out as two separate stories across the wire.

“It contributed to our journalism,” he said.

However, Carvin noted that the AP has scaled back its use of Facebook. What used to be hourly posts now are between four and six per day.

“We go to Twitter for breaking news, not Facebook,” Carvin said. “If it’s important, we’ll toss it onto Twitter right away. We go to Facebook only when it’s transcendent. Twitter is a breaking news platform, both in terms of what we put out and how we gather news. If news breaks, we look to Twitter more than Facebook.”