How a Twitter widget can help you cover Super Tuesday
A Twitter widget (or ScribbleLive widget if your newsroom has access to that tool) might be the fastest way to update readers with fresh primary numbers Tuesday night. It automatically pulls in tweets from users or hashtags and usually updates faster than our article page recaches. Plus people can follow along directly in Twitter.
Because a Twitter widget can only pull in posts from one Twitter account, the best way to set up your primary widget would be to first create a List in Twitter that collects tweets from multiple users – in this case, your reporters and photographers, anyone in the field gathering results for you and taking photos at the polls.
The key here is to tell your staff to tweet immediately. This will show up faster than a web update (although web updates with their own headlines are likely needed throughout the night, too).
CREATE A LIST
- Go to a Twitter account (I would use the publication’s account).
- Click on your account profile photo in the top right corner. Choose Lists.
- On the right side of the screen, click on the button that says “Create new list”
- The list name and description will show up on your site when you embed your widget, so fill it in appropriately. The name may be something like “Tweets from XXpaper staff” and the description could say: Find out the most recent primary results for xx city or area here.
- Keep the privacy level on Publish > Save List.
- I find the best way to add people to this list is to skip the next page that comes up and instead, navigate to each user’s Twitter page.
- Click on the cog wheel next to the Follow or Following button and choose “Add or remove from lists…”
- A box pops up. Check off which of your lists to which this person should be added.
- X out. Repeat.
Now you should build your Twitter widget, the box with the stream of tweets you will embed onto an article page on your site.
CREATE A TWITTER WIDGET
Building a widget is easy. Log in to your Twitter account. Click on your account profile image at the top right and choose Settings.
On the left, click on Widgets. A list of your existing widgets (if any) will pop up on the right. Click Create New. Now you choose what type of content you want to pull in.
I generally find the three most useful to be: User Timeline (one @useraccount), List (a collection of accounts you’ve already created under Lists), or Search (a #hashtag search). For this primary widget, choose List.
I don’t mess with most of the settings, although I do like to UN-check “auto-expand photos,” otherwise, you run the risk of inappropriate photos popping up on your website. At least if they don’t auto expand, the user is choosing to see it.
Sometimes I change the height so more tweets will show up at once. The last widget I built, I set it at 900.
After you hit “create widget”, copy the HTML code that appears at the bottom of the preview image.
Create an article in your CMS. The headline could be something like “RESULTS: Find out how (your community) voted here.”
If you are using NewsCycle Solutions as your CMS: Paste the code into the “Twitter Widget” box under body text and the “Extra Fields” section in the EditUI or in the “Twitter widget:” field of an article’s property Web tab page in the MediaWare Center.
In other CMS platforms, you should be able to paste the embed code into your HTML editor.