Last night I taught a class to a roomful of journalists about how to use social media. About 25 of us or so gathered in one of the first-floor conference rooms at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In two hours, we discussed everything from how to search for groups on Facebook to all the reasons it’s so important for journalists to come out from behind their byline, go where their readers are, and talk to them.
To prepare for the class (and give people a taste of what I was talking about) I asked people on Twitter to share whatever tips they might have for journalists looking to break in to the social Web. I put out the request in a big public tweet and also sent direct messages to several journalists, bloggers, students, professors and media mavens I knew would have something valuable to say.
I put the tips up on the overhead during the class and highlighted a few in the beats between slides and questions. When we were done, I realized only I could see all the tips, and it would just be silly to keep it that way. So without further ado, here’s what some great people on Twitter advise us journalists keep in mind as we tackle social media. Follow their Twitter links to see who they are …
Why it’s awesome
jilliancyork more than anything, it’s great to have an immediate community to bounce ideas off/ask questions of/share with etc
kirida I love it when journalists use twitter. It makes me feel like Im in the loop
bydanielvictor My main message: It’s a diverse network of potential sources. Sometimes you’ll ask them to be one, sometimes you don’t even have to ask
jseattle dunno. not that much different than making notes to yourself. especially if you stick to only twittering your life filtered by your ‘beat’
wnalyd @moniguzman: Always engage. Only connect. And never, ever be above your readers.
jenocal The biggie would be don’t be so afraid of the trends. Too many journalists get left behind because they don’t understand or fear them.
greglinch Join lots of sites and be everywhere your audience is (FB, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, etc) to allow many ways to connect, but focus on core.
wnalyd @moniguzman Accept the medium for what it is. Don’t ask for an interview on Flickr and make the subject do it over the phone
WriterWay NEVER relax the traditional standards you used for verifying facts and getting both sides’ points of view!
Digidave Bottom line: Experiment – this is a time to have fun and own it!!!
mediatwit Use social media as much as you can yourself so you can figure out good ways to mine them for sources and tips.
TheHairFarmer choose which communities you belong to and spend time in carefully – are you better served with a local community or a much larger community
indietv I use social media 4: 1. get stories out everywhere! (nowpublic,iReport,current, twit,myspace,youtube) 2.Tell a story, u still gotta connect with peeps 3. keep it up, practice, learn & stay positive
wnalyd @moniguzman: Honesty + transparency ALWAYS. If you’re not, you will be found out, blogged about, it’ll end in tears.
gmarkham @moniguzman the only tip I have for social media tools is commit, don’t just play.
Come out from behind that byline
jasonp107 @moniguzman the one thing a journalist CAN NOT do in modern publishing is hide behind a byline. you are out there, so be present.
paulbalcerak Be as open on your social networks as you’d want a source to be. People don’t like one-way communication
kathyg don’t just repeat headlines — add human touch to tweets. I follow the oregonian tweets and they got the message;more interesting now
chrispirillo Social Media: They’re talking about you and the things you do, regardless. Join or die
djwudi @moniguzman Be a person, don’t just mirror an RSS feed. It’s why I watch you, and unsubbed @seattlepi “keep it real, yo!”
tyfn @moniguzman journalists should use twitter to have conversations with followers, build relationships, not as a one-way broadcast tool
What to say? How to say it?
jseattle 1) Work out loud but keep it to a minimum (don’t need to know your every move, 2) Beg for a tip or a source now and then 3) Balance tease with actual info in your tweets, 4) include personal only if on target (a haircut? better be style blog)
TheHairFarmer Allow, encourage and respond to comments – facilitate a conversation for your community
wnalyd @moniguzman: Don’t spew. I don’t want to hear about the 20 things you had for lunch on 20 different tweets!
mediatwit I would also advise caution as any personal info they put up on social media sites will go out to the whole world and will be hard to delete
wnalyd Learn the various ways you can talk to people directly and not in the general stream, e.g. direct messages
Resources for journalists interested in social media
guykawasaki Step one is to use http://socialmedia.alltop.com/ and http://journalism.alltop.com/
digitalreporter Good Social Network for Wired Journalists: http://mediageeks.ning.com/
mediatwit I would recommend using these services: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, Yahoo Buzz, Delicious, FriendFeed
ryansholin Specifically for Twitter, this is still my best rec: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/…
bydanielvictor I’d teach them how to find users: Twellow, Twitterlocal, Tweetscan. Lesson: You never know when this network might come in handy.
KateMartin13 Use twitterlocal.com to find ppl in your area. I would also add a twitter tagline on your email signature so ppl who use can add you.
greglinch @moniguzman Another good topic is mobile social media, like using Twitter/Twitpic, Qik for livestreaming video, posting updates/pics to FB
andrew_dunn @moniguzman I’ll toot my own horn and offer this case study of Twitter during Gustav: http://dunnreporter.com/?p=317
underoak @moniguzman Ditto on @andrew_dunn’s case study of Gustav, and add @HurricaneIke, which connected lots of information and people.
bydanielvictor They’ve helped me brainstorm story ideas, alerted us to accidents, led me to tech stories. Here’s a good real-life example: http://is.gd/4yf4
Sassmo @moniguzman Don’t forget to mention how Twitter broke CA’s July earthquake story & the viralness of this post http://shorl.com/bripojepekisi
underoak @moniguzman I suggest you introduce your students to @marsphoenix, and the many tributes she had when she went dark. We’ll miss her
Role models in the social Web: Journalists to follow
greglinch Some favs @ryansholin @digidave @jiconoclast @jeffjarvis @jayrosen_nyu @waynesutton @ckrewson @10000words @agahran @howardowens @sjcobrien
wendyperrin Guess I’d advise aspiring journalists to join Twitter & follow @brianstelter, @jdickerson, @pomeranian99. Also @jayrosen_nyu, @jeffjarvis.
sscraft @moniguzman On Twitter, I follow John Dickerson (Slate), and on Facebook, I follow Cathleen Falsani (Chicago Sun -Times)
paullu @moniguzman I vote for you and @jdickerson, because you both USE twitter, instead of using it only to push links to your articles.
tyfn @moniguzman My favourite correspondent to follow is @shiralazar. She’s on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC frequently http://shiralazar.com
rubissima @moniguzman I like @guykawasaki on Twitter. His links are often really interesting
wendyperrin Other fave journalists on Twitter: @rachelsklar, @newmediajim, @marcambinder, @anamariacox.
digitalreporter Tips for journalists regarding social networking. Subscribe to Veronica Belmont’s feeds. She is a technology journalist that is plugged in
StevenWalling @moniguzman @acarvin – not technically a reporter, but NPR’s social media guy. Great balance of quanitity/quality + a personal touch
westseattleblog @moniguzman you, #1. @ricksanchezcnn is goofy but endearing and energetic in his use. @jayrosen uses Twit in a fascinating way
KateMartin13 @moniguzman hands down, my favorite journalist on Twitter is @rsylvester; on FB is David Pogue, but only because I also love technology
digitalreporter Social Netwoking tips: Check out successful YouTube videobloggers: Kina Grannis and David Choi. They know how to support a fan base
About the author: Mónica Guzmán is the online reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where she writes The Big Blog.
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