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Why Reuters ace tweeter (46,000 in all) is bowing out meantime


By Noel Young | Correspondent

July 16, 2012 | 4 min read

One of the big names on Twitter, Reuters' deputy social media editor Matthew Keys, is packing his bags on the site indefinitely .

Matthew Keys long, for now

Keys, who has tweeted than 46,000 times and dug up countless stories, was grilled by Adweek on the big break: "One of the reasons was because I needed to unplug. Twitter, for me, wasn't supposed to be a full-time thing.

" I decided to try leveraging the platform a year and a half ago when I was unemployed, to put into practice some techniques I thought might contribute to real-time reporting as stories happened. And those techniques worked and landed me a job.

"I kept up Tumblr as much as I could while I was at ABC, and then I closed out the blog. Twitter didn't demand as much attention. "

Keys added, "The break is indefinite; I'm not leaving the platform for good. But I do need to tune out for a little while, to focus on other stuff, to look for those emerging platforms that could become the "next big thing," and to develop new techniques for storytelling "

Keys talked about how tough it was to sign out. "Taking a break from Twitter is sort of like taking a break from a relationship.

"When you take a break from someone, the first couple of days, you want to pick up the phone and call them. For me, the first few days, I wanted to log on to Twitter and see what people were saying. But it's like any addiction—time makes letting go of things a bit easier.

"I think it was something I obsessed over. If you work in news, Twitter is where the action is. It's where stories develop in real time, 24/7. It doesn't stop.

"I got sucked into that. I loved it. I still love it. But at some point you have to take a break. I've probably gotten better sleep over the past week than I have in the past four years."

Keys said he found himself staying awake until midnight or 1 or 2 in the morning and "then having to come in to work the next day exhausted, unable to focus."

"The wheels kept spinning even when the machine was exhausted. In this industry, that's been known to happen. But for me, it was happening a lot.

"You start using the platform to have meaningful interactions with people, and you substitute it for the meaningful interactions you could have in person. "

Asked by Adweek about was the next platform out there, Keys responded, "The fact of the matter is, there's a community on Google Plus. We don't see it as social media producers/editors/directors, because we don't make enough of an effort to be on there. But there's a community there, and they want us to pay attention to them. "

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