Bianca Bosker is the Senior Tech Editor at The Huffington Post.
She actually co-founded The Huffington Post’s Tech section, which she helped launch in 2009 and has both overseen and written for since.
She writes about consumer technology, social media, web companies, business, and the cultural aspects of technology, among other topics.She also created The Huffington Post’s Women in Tech series, which has featured her profiles of leading female pioneers, including Google executive Marissa Mayer, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, and Ruchi Sanghvi, the first female engineer at Facebook.
Her work has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Far Eastern Economic Review, and the Oregonian.
Twittering from: @bbosker
Number of Followers: 6,119
Number of Tweets: 2,403
Is Social Media a substantial part of your work?
Huge! I cover social media for The Huffington Post and I spend a preposterous amount of time on social networking sites. I lurk, I listen, I write, I ask questions—I ‘m always curious to see how communities compare across competing services, as well as why some flourish, while othe
rs flounder. Not only do I find sites like Twitter indispensable for keeping tabs on the news, but I consider it my job to stay up to speed on the latest social app, startup or feature. Given the slew of social media startups cropping up these days. I feel like I join new social networks more often than I make home cooked meals.
Which is your favourite social network? And why?
As far as online social networks are concerned, I couldn’t pick a favourite because the ones I use each serve different needs. I couldn’t replace Facebook with Twitter, and vice versa. And while Foursquare is useless for flipping through friends’ photos, it tracks my favourite haunts seamlessly.
I’d love to find a social network that’s the online equivalent of a dinner party–in my opinion still the best way to meet people and share status updates—in the sense that it’s intimate, brings together strangers and friends of friends, and fosters prolonged, wide-ranging conversation.
When did you set up your Twitter account? Do you remember why you did it?
I have to confess I don’t remember setting up my Twitter account, but I’m glad I did. I think my first tweet was an @Reply that went unanswered.
What is the most positive thing about using Twitter?
What I love most about Twitter is its brevity and speed. The 140-character limit makes the world talk in headlines and haikus—annoying sometimes, sure, but the restriction allows you to instantly take the pulse of the place. I also like that Twitter’s limit forces people to carefully consider their words and distil the essence an observation into a few words or a photo.
Twitter is also quick, which makes it invaluable for people like me who constantly track breaking news.
How should journalists use Twitter? Any tips or tricks that work for you?
With an open mind and, at times, passively. I speak with a lot of people who just don’t see the point of Twitter, and I’d suggest at least giving it an honest try before dismissing it entirely. Though journalists are in the business of writing and broadcasting, I’d suggest they take the time to log in to Twitter and just sit back and watch every once in awhile. Stop typing and just take it all in: it’s a great way to learn how to tweet, what people care about, find ideas for stories, and check in with readers. I’d also recommend asking questions when you need a hand. My followers have been a phenomenal resource for information on everything from iPad apps to startup CEOs.
Last thing: follow people outside your field and follow people just for fun. Maybe I get more news from Sarah Lacy or Peter Kafka, but Ruth Reichl’s tweets – 140 character culinary poetry–has made many mornings for me.
How do you deal with your personal and professional chats on Twitter?
Twitter is, at its core, a public platform and I treat it that way. I adore meeting new people on Twitter and love tweeting back and forth with friends, but if it’s made for a few eyes only, Twitter isn’t the place I post it.
I’m also conscious of what my followers want to hear from me. If you’re close enough to me that we can share airport horror stories, I’ll probably text it to you. No reason a few thousand people have to hear me complain.
Do you have a special Twitter story? Something unique and remarkable that you would like to share with us?
The experience of meeting people I follow on Twitter in person for the first time never gets old—it’s like seeing an old friend for the first time in years.
I’ve also been impressed by how quickly and far tweets can travel, even coming from those of us without hundreds of thousands of followers. In February, I sent several tweets asking if people could confirm whether LinkedIn had been blocked in China. Within minutes, I had screenshots, emails in my inbox, and some half a dozen tweets in reply confirming the outage.
The smartest way to use Twitter is…?
In 120 characters. Show some restraint when you write so people can easily retweet you and comment on your tweets. (Also: Take a lesson from Rep. Weiner and watch the DMs.)
Is there something you don’t like about Twitter? What should be changed/improved?
Getting start on Twitter is still a headache for many. Users encounter a blank slate when they first join, and I think the emptiness of the their timelines turns a good deal of people away from the service. Having to pick through followers can be a chore, and who knows what they want Twitter to be for them – a social medium, a news reader, a branding tool – before they’ve even had a chance to try it out?
I also think Twitter needs to do a better job of explaining its different functions. The “@” signs, # symbols and RTs can make Twitter timelines look more like algebra equations than musings.
Your favourite Twitter app?
TweetDeck, hands down. I have a monitor at my desk at HuffPost dedicated almost entirely to TweetDeck, which I use to track multiple timelines, @ mentions, hashtags and other information.
When was the first time when you felt the power of Twitter?
Help A Reporter Out founder Peter Shankman tweeted something about me and within seconds my email inbox exploded with follow notifications. I thought I was being spammed! I was stunned by his ability to not only reach so many people quickly, but also catalyse them to instantly take action.