Big newspapers are joining Twitter at an alarming rate, in part because it offers another avenue for story ideas and scoops. Some newspaper execs are also trying to find a way to make money from Twitter.

This is a tricky area, because the people who use Twitter have shown that they are not fans of spam, or anything remotely resembling spam, and will take swift action (unfollow, possibly report the account) if it is suspected.

For big newspapers, which often have big debt loads and vastly diverse audiences, using Twitter as an advertising platform is challenging. But for small and medium-sized titles, an opportunity exists.

Last week I attended the news:rewired event put on by, and hosted byCity University London. Billed as a look at how the news industry needs to change its approach to journalism online, those in attendance included editors at the major national titles, and editors at small papers with just a few thousand readers.

I struck up a conversation with the editor of a local newspaper in South West England. The editor told me they were new to the social media fray and were unsure how it can be monetised or even used effectively for news purposes with a smaller readership.

Robin Hamman, a Senior Social Media Consultant at Headshift, mentioned that he gone through and found every single blogger who was active in St. Albans. He created a network of them, built out an aggregator in Yahoo! Pipes, and set about being seen as a member of that blogging community.

That became St. Albans Blog. He took the time to know the community, to know who was there and who was contributing what to the conversation locally.

In a small community to be the news source or news outlet, you've got to be connected to the community in a big way. Everyone's got to know you, and you've got to know everyone. You have to know what they like and what they don't like. Otherwise, how can you really be their news source or outlet?

Read the rest of the post here.


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