Two things to watch for on Election Night

It’s Election Day in America and as poll results begin to emerge this evening, Twitter will no doubt be a destination for many journalists and curious voters.

This is simply a note to pass along two interesting things to look for in how the election is covered on Twitter tonight.

1) This from John Herrman at BuzzFeed: “How Election Day Will Break Twitter.” Herrman does not mean that the number of users will crash the site, but instead that the flood of tweets will render the platform effectively useless. So many people, he wrote, will be tweeting so many things that users will not be able to actually read any posts. This phenomenon presented itself during the first debate, Herrman wrote, but it only affected the people he deems to be in Twitter’s “political class.” “The bar was too crowded and the music was too loud. Everybody was shouting and nobody was being heard,” he wrote. Twitter has especially grown as a tool for political reporters and junkies, so it should be interesting to see if the platform can handle the force of an election.

2) How cautious will reporters be when they tweet? Jim Romenesko passed along a memo from the Associated Press, advising its reporters to be careful when tweeting on Election Night. “If AP has not called a particular state or race, it’s because we have specifically decided not to, based on the expertise and data we have spent years developing,” the memo reads. “Therefore, we strongly discourage AP staffers from posting, tweeting or retweeting others’ calls. People view all of us as speaking for the AP.” I’ve mentioned the importance of verifying tweets before posting them in the past, and more broadly, the issue of the truth on Twitter. Particularly with political journalism, the race to be the first to report something can be all-consuming. But right is better than first. Effectively, when a reporter tweets, he or she is publishing something and there is an expectation for accuracy. How will reporters take this into account tonight?

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