I haven’t been able to get this article by Ann Friedman for the Columbia Journalism Review out of my head. The article raises the question: Can you still be an effective journalist if you ignore Twitter?
While I know it’s “possible” to be “effective” as a journalist without being on Twitter, I also know how much reporters and editors miss out on when they don’t change their egg profile photo and take the platform seriously. I’ll admit, I was a Twitter skeptic. It took Brian Stelter’s prodding in “Page One: Inside the New York Times” to get me to start taking the social media platform seriously. I’m glad I did.
A few weeks out of college I joined Twitter, started following a fellow graduate working at a newspaper in my hometown, connected with him via direct message and he recommended me for a job with the Naples Daily News. Three years later I’m still thinking about the value I saw in Twitter during those early moments of my profile.
Twitter is about having a conversation, something journalists are masters of between conducting phone interviews and gathering sources. Twitter is also about sharing your personality and adding some dimension to your byline.
Readers want to know we’re listening and seeing journalists engage with community members via Twitter is a primo way to show that.
Friedman’s article boils down to the decision-making process for why a journalist should or should not be on the platform. Her reasoning hits the nail on the head.
She says you need to be on Twitter if:
- You’re planning on looking for another job one day.
- You write about the media, pop culture or digital culture.
- You want to provide a way for readers to contact you.
- You want to network with other journalists or if you love words.
On the other hand, Friedman advises that you should ignore Twitter if:
- You are completely secure at your job and have no interest in networking with other journalists.
- You don’t enjoy playing around with words.
- You are content with readers connecting with you in one way (via email).
When the decision is boiled down to those bullet points it becomes obvious how important the social media medium is and how crucial it is for editors to encourage use and reporters to follow suit.
So which decision did you make?
Tweet me @brandibroxson
Brandi Broxson is a magazine and digital editor at Naples Daily News in Naples, Florida. In addition to Generation-J, she also serves on SPJ’s Digital committee as Google+ coordinator. Brandi graduated from the University of Central Florida with a journalism degree and has been part of the ever-changing industry for eight years. She’s passionate about social media and story telling and makes a mean to-do list. Read more about her here.