My Social Media for Journalists Top Ten List

Posted: May 23, 2011 in Week #16

When I enrolled in this course I had aspirations of learning a thing or two about the art of journalism and gaining a deeper understanding of the capacities of social media. I had ideas about how they worked with one another, but in retrospect, I don’t think I truly appreciated the potential of social media as a journalist’s best friend. Thanks to the rigors of this course, I got a true taste of what it would be like to have a real job working for a publication—in this case having Shari as my boss/editor. Many of you have probably already realized that we’ve been operating with a course load on graduate school level—at least that’s what all my friends with graduate degrees are telling me after reading my blog. I don’t think I’ve ever been challenged on such a grand scale as I have in this course.

My Top Ten list of the most important things learned while taking Social Media for Journalists is as follows:

10. After reading a blog, leave the writer a comment.

Leaving a thoughtful comment gives the writer feedback and has the potential to shine light on new perspectives or opposing arguments. When someone reads your blog for the first time, they will also see what kind of people have read and commented; therefore, they are gaining wisdom from not only the writer, but also from other readers. It is also important to engage with your readers by replying to their comments. The more people reading and commenting, the bigger the community.

9.  Using #hashtags while tweeting can open the door to more Twitter followers and bring in more traffic to your blogs.

As part of our weekly assignments, we’ve been asked to tweet with the #journ65 hashtag whenever we’ve published a new blog. Here’s a great example of incorporating hashtags into those tweets.

#YouTube can answer our questions/keep us on the pulse of #socialmedia. My new #blog explains it all. #journ65 #viral

By simply adding the hashtag symbol [#] to key words within my tweet, I’ve actually created more exposure for myself. If someone searches for any of those hashtags, then my tweet will appear in the search. There are thousands of people out there looking for new bloggers, and when I hashtag #blog in my tweet, doors open to new readers.

8. Separate your personal and professional Facebook profiles by setting up a Facebook Business Page.

Although we didn’t actually set up our Facebook journalist pages until the last couple weeks of class, the importance of separating your personal and professional (or school) work is very important. As many of us use Facebook to connect with friends and family online, there can be a fine line as to what is appropriate material to share between your personal and professional lives. Having a professional page solves that problem; plus, it allows you to share your blog and Twitter accounts all in one place.

7. LinkedIn is a great place to connect and learn from journalists around the world.

As you can read from my interview with John Le Fevre, the importance of meeting him and asking him to share his wisdom with our class turned out to be one of the best assignments of the semester. LinkedIn serves many purposes: finding a job, connecting with colleagues, asking questions, and participating in discussions. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people you meet who share the same profession, and the guidance they can bring.

6. When curating an article, find sources that you trust.

I recently curated an article about how to interpret surrealism in film, and I must have found over a thousand variations of the same theories. In the end, I narrowed my sources down to scholars, published authors, and people who had a large number of views on their blogs. Choose carefully as to avoid quoting from someone who may not be trustworthy.

5. If you’re ever stuck in a rut, the best thing you can do is attend your professor’s office hours.

I can’t stress enough how important meeting with Shari Weiss during her office hours has been for me. Not only did I get some one-on-one tutoring, I was able to get a better understanding of some of the assignments and how they relate to the bigger picture. Especially when taking an online course, you should attempt to meet with the professor at least once so you both can put a face to a name and engage in “real” conversation. Some things might not come across the same way online as they do face-to-face. The added bonus is that you’re able to share stories and make that online professional relationship more personable.

4. Take time to read what your classmate

s are posting.

Conducting a large portion of the class in the Facebook group has made it easier to get to know our classmates. On top of following them on Twitter, I have sent friend requests to several people in the class and it has really paid off for me. I enjoy reading what they do outside of this course, and it gives me a better idea of what my peers are up to and are passionate about. In turn, when reading their blogs, I have a better understanding of who these people are and where they are coming from.

3. Social media + journalism = the future.

The future of journalism is in our hands. As “citizen journalists” we have the opportunity to shape and change the face of journalism. Social media and social networking are the new pad and pencil. The first step toward making that change is enrolling in this course. Every professional journalist working today obviously has to learn how to use social media. Whether it’s a professional training program or an

online course at Laney College, getting educated is the key to success. I think the future of journalism also lies in technology. Anyone operating without a smartphone is falling behind. If you can’t check your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn on a mobile device, you are confining your “field” to the desk and cubicle. As technology changes in speed and size, it is important to stay on top of what’s new and what’s coming because it’s going to make our jobs as journalists easier. The future of journalism is literally in the palm of our hands.

2. Get your feet wet and explore new and emerging social media sites.

We all know Facebook and Twitter are here to stay, but what about Foursquare, Splore, or Mashable? The future of social media will always revolve around something new and something old, and as journalists, it is up to us to find what works best for us. As my interview with John Le Fevre shows, although he loves Twitter, he doesn’t like to use Facebook in any capacity. As this article will demonstrate, there are social med

ia sites popping up left and right, and they’re being designed with very specific categories in mind. The future of social media is that every aspect of our lives, every interest, every move we make, will tie into a social media site created to specifically enhance th

ose areas.

1. Take Social Media for Journalists if you want to make a significant impact on your life and future.

This class was a serious wake-up call for me. When the course began, I was used to maybe only a 5th of the workload we’ve been given throughout the semester, so I definitely had my work cut out for me. What I loved the most was that every week there was something new to learn and write about. Waking up each Monday with a new series of assignments all due by the end of the week made me feel like I had a real job. Shari has given us more than just social media tools—she’s given us tools to survive in the real world. After this class I’m ready to put everything we’ve learned to the test by starting my own blog and writing about things I’m passionate about. Most college courses look to the past to give us a better understanding of the world and where we’re at as a society, but this class looked to the future, and we all know our future will be surrounded with social media. Take this opportunity to make a lasting impact on your life, and recommend others do the same as well.


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