One of the reasons I wanted to be a journalist is to inform, so I love social media. I find it interactive, instantaneous and full of excitement. New social media sites are popping up at a quick rate, and they’re changing our daily lives just as fast. The best platforms allow you to share information with people who might pass it along as well.
(Of course, you should share good, relevant information and avoid anything inflammatory, but that’s a post for another day.)
When I go on Twitter, I usually go on it to either improve my skills or communicate something. I was lucky Sept. 14 when @Poynter (the voice of the prestigious Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg) tweeted:
Join us now for a live chat w @KimBui about what it takes to stand out as a community/social media editor: http://journ.us/rh1MtG
I asked, “Kim, what qualifications should someone have to be a community/social media editor?”
First and foremost a sense of experimentation. You should also be active on most major networks (FB and Twitter) and have tried a few others. Have ideas about how to engage readers better and improve the final product through SM.
Also, network like you’ve never networked before. Most SM editors know each others, so if you know some of us, you’ll get an inside track.
Good, right? You really should read all of Kim Bui’s tips.
I feel like I’m on the right track. I’ve met loads of influential people through the #dbtweetup (Daytona Beach’s monthly Tweet-Up) and have already used my skills for the print product.
In fact, one of my awards from The Daytona Beach News-Journal involved, yes, using Twitter. The crew of the night desk expected it to be a calm Sunday night, but on May 2, 2011, President Barack Obama came on the air and announced the death of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11.
The Associated Press sent out a scant nine inches right at deadline, so what did I do? As I replated the inside pages, I looked up the @whitehouse Twitter feed and found the exact contents of Obama’s speech to help fill the front page to get it out.
The next day, my former co-worker Kari saw The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s front page flashed on CNN.
Though journalism has changed, the fundamentals are still there, and social networking continues to give us options for improvement. On Sept. 14, I subscribed to Quora, a question-and-answer site. On Sept. 15, Facebook announced a “Subscribe” option, which is great for following a source without having to “friend” someone you don’t know well. Likewise, today, Sept. 20, I signed up to get a promo code for Mail-ette, a site for sharing graphic elements and gaining feedback.
In the future, I’m betting we’ll have better information and a bigger ability to distill and share pertinent information. News is still news — whatever the format.