Greetings from Austin, Texas! I’m on one of probably only one summer adventure and I am spamming Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat with posts of Texas life and BBQ. Most of my followers are friends and family, but if I considered my Instagram account a professional page, spamming vacation photos would probably annoy a lot of followers. Social media provides a lot of options and opportunities to get work out and spread around the world. However, it does come with potential consequences.
Twitter and Facebook are the most useful tools for journalists and easily accessible for readers. Facebook allows for journalists to share stories and videos with several users to share and comment on. Twitter provides a platform for journalists to share content as well as update stories in real time. Social media gives journalists a way to make a name for themselves. Many have Twitter and Facebook accounts separate from the media company they work for. It helps readers associate a face with a name and their content rather than just a byline in print. Chances are those followers will continue to follow your news coverage even if you change career paths.
Unfortunately, there are hazards to using social media professionally. I touched base on this topic in my very first blog post, but one “funny” tweet could end a career. Allow me to remind you of the tweet that ended a career in PR and started the worldwide trending hashtag of #HasJustineLandedYet.
Making a poor and misunderstood joke is one thing, but there are several other factors that could offend and deter readers and followers. Since I am in vacation mode I am thinking about the pictures I have posted or have thought about posting. Posting anything from alcohol to vacation bikini pictures has the risk of offending reader’s beliefs.
There is also a fear that social media might be taking the advantage away from journalists giving citizens equal power to report on current events. This Huffington Post piece talks about the struggles of journalism in the new age and the advantages and disadvantages of the social media movement. It also discusses the impact it has had on several major news media outlets.
Ultimately, social media is a double-edged sword. It has the potential to jump start a career or end one in minutes. However, it is one of the most powerful tools for journalists today and essential to a career in journalism in the new age.