Journalism in Social Media Pitfall #2: Complete thoughts

by Jason Preston on December 24, 2008

I try to make sure that most of my blog posts are at best half of a thought. Some mediums, like Twitter, make it nearly impossible to stuff a well-rounded idea into one discreet item (a Tweet, in that case), by pulling character limits and whatnot.

But social media is inherently a conversational type of media, and it’s harder to have a conversation if every avenue is already explored, every stone unturned, every…well, you get the idea. Nothing that you put online should be a “finished product” in the sense that a print article traditionally is.

It requires a bit of an open mind, but social media can be the ultimate sounding board. It can be extremely rewarding to throw a question out there and see what you get back.

But you will get answers. So don’t ask if you aren’t willing to listen.

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Journalism in Social Media Pitfall #3: Plugging your ears — Eat Sleep Publish
12.26.08 at 8:58 am


1 Wade Rockett 12.24.08 at 1:24 pm

Hugh MacLeod recently asked why he loves his Twitter community more than his community of blog commenters. One response someone offered was that blog comments are often like a Q&A after a speech. I think that ties into what you’re saying — when blog posts are written less like a monologue and more like the opening of a conversation, the tone of the comments is different.

2 Jason Preston 12.24.08 at 4:33 pm

That sounds like a spot-on assessment to me.

3 Allan McDougall 12.24.08 at 6:35 pm

I don’t think any piece of writing is every complete. It’s just that at some point you have to give up on it and move on.

Very astute observation here, Jason. Thanks.

4 Mónica Guzmán 12.25.08 at 8:37 pm

One word of caution here. While it’s great to leave open loops to spur discussion, there is such a thing as leaving too much to readers or giving them too little to go on. As a blogger on a newspaper Web site, I’ve found a limit to how much readers looking for news are willing to engage in “open threads.” So I try to keep those to a minimum, and when I do write posts that do little more than ask questions, I try to balance them with surrounding posts that give a lot of answers.

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