Everything But the Kitchen Sink: My First 10 Weeks Mixing Social Media With Journalism

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Week #10

For me, this week was about reflection. I took a look back the past ten weeks and asked myself what I’ve learned; but I realized the core essence of this class is less about learning and more about what I’ve gained. From starting my first WordPress blog, to learning the ins and outs of what it means to wear a journalism “tool belt,” and how to make it fit perfectly. What I love most about this Social Media for Journalists class is the inspiration I get from reading my fellow classmates’ work. It’s rare in most cases that you get to read another paper that your peers have written, but in this case, it’s both encouraged and appreciated.  Ever since starting this blog, the feedback has been stupendous. I look forward to the day that I can start large discussions with my readers the way my mentor’s blog, Shari Sax Is Out There, does so well. With that said, I enjoy the process of learning as a way to grow, so here are a couple key points that I’ve learned so far.


There is more to Facebook than meets the eye. At first, you connect with friends and family, reconnect with old friends, maybe take part in a cyber high school reunion or two. Then you dive a little deeper by finding a couple fan pages to “like” and follow, join a group with a niche that caters to your interest, and finally, realize that you’ve just wasted an entire day in what seems like two hours. Taking a deeper look will uncover the vast array of groups you can join to discuss topics of any interest. My entire class uses a Facebook group to share blogs, stay updated with assignments, connect with our professor, and have important questions answered.


What seems like a useless way to keep up with the Hollywood elite quickly turned into a resourceful tool to get updates on global news, share personal insights, and connect with blog readers. Once you’ve grasped the power of social media’s mini-blog format, and take advantage of hashtag discussions, retweeting, and learning who to follow to further one’s own knowledge (or one’s own agenda), then Twitter can change your life for the better.


Never in a million years did I think I would join LinkedIn, but take my word, ever since I joined I’ve felt like a million bucks. Finally, a new piece of social media that can offer me something more valuable and durable. I officially see more future for me in LinkedIn than in Facebook and Twitter combined. There is enormous potential to make connections, earn recommendations, and use LI groups to engage in current media trends; even in this economy, the possibilities seem endless and my future never looked so bright.

As I set forth to complete the final weeks of the course, I know there is still much to learn. The relationships I’ve formed with my classmates, my professor, and even some of the star guests like Gregory Stringer, will transcend social media to a more personal level of real friendships and exchange of information and shared interests beyond the keyboard and screen. The answers to what we’re seeking are provided by others out there, not the medium of the software. Something I’d like to explore in more depth is the concept of interest mapping or interest-based social networking. Some sites at the forefront of this revolution are Splore and Zapon.

The journey continues…

  1. “…relationships I’ve formed with my classmates, my professor, and even some of the star guests…”

    Well, I’d say you’ve mastered the chapter on hype (read bullsh*t) pretty well. ;D

    Gotta tell ya, bro, not many that encounter my particular brand of abrasive acerbicism hang around long enough to call me friend; I’ve noticed, however, that those that do tend to be birds of a familiar feather. Welcome aboard, comrade.

  2. Dan Coerber says:

    Great post! Nice that your posts are already making top spots on other peoples’ blogs: http://paper.li/NipunK/1288049259. Thanks for the insights…

  3. Shari says:

    Billy, why not blog about your experiences/observations re: Splore and Zapon

  4. Billy Rivera says:

    @Gregory, realized I need more and more of that abrasiveness on a daily basis, so thanks for that. 🙂

    @Dan, Thanks for you support. Let me know if you ever need a freelance social media writer for Coach America.

    @Shari, I’m on it and will add nuvvo to the mix as well. 🙂

  5. Grannelle says:


    The tilting of my lance against the windmills of self-promotion has become overzealous
    Our friendship has deepened to the point that your words aren’t simple flattery
    Instead of perpetuating my being an abrasively acerbic a**hole, I should simply accept a compliment from a fellow professional by saying “thank you”, so

    Thank you.

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