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Friday, December 28, 2012

Associated Press Stylebook | Updates

As a subscriber to the online Associated Press Stylebook, I got an email today about new entries and recent changes to the handy manual.

All the terms relate to the growing vocabulary of social media and related apps and devices: Android, circles, flash mob, Google Hangout, hashtag, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, retweet, Skype and tablet.

Most are simply descriptions; for example:
Android An operating system created by Google that's used in many smartphones and tablets.
flash mob A gathering of people performing an action in a public place designated by a text message, email, social media post or other notification sent to the participants. ...
 And a few provide advice on using the terms: 
hashtag  The use of a number sign (#) in a tweet to convey the subject a user is writing about so that it can be indexed and accessed in other users' feeds. If someone is writing about the Super Bowl, for example, the use of #superbowl could be an appropriate hashtag. No space is used between the hashtag and the accompanying search term. ...
retweet The practice, on Twitter, of forwarding a message or link from someone else to your followers. Users can either formally retweet to make the forwarded message appear exactly as written by the original user or use the informal convention of "RT @username:" to share the tweet and edit or add comment. Spelled out in all references, though common usage on Twitter abbreviates to RT. If you amend the tweet before forwarding, use the abbreviation MT for "modified tweet." ...
AP also provides this advice to its staffers (and other journalists, I assume):
[R]etweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like an expression of personal opinion on the issues of the day. However, AP staffers can judiciously retweet opinionated material by making clear it is being reported, much like a quote in a story. Add this context before the RT in the tweet, or write a new tweet that includes the original in quote marks.
The AP email message includes more advice on news media use of "user-generated content," or UGC. But that discussion deserves its own blog entry. Stay tuned.


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