Facebook has become a complex sort of beast. The reach of facebook audiences plays a factor at the disemination of information and access to sources. As Vadim Lavrusik pointed out the “500+ Million-Person Directory of Sources” a journalist has at their disposal. There is more to facebook than just numbers.
With that journalists have a great responsibility. Leah Betancourt talks about the ethnics involved. She says “Verify facts, identification of sources, etc. Be as certain as possible that the information you are providing is truthful and accurate, or, if that can’t be determined, making very clear what the source of it is.” This means verifying information from help a reporter out, the legitimacy of polls and surveys, and user-names.
“Reporters should disclose in their stories that they utilized Facebook as one of their reporting tools.” Betancourt says. This is appropriate of the many various screen names, user-names posted online. Although a person may have an arbitrary online name it could potentially be a story lead and documenting all sources is valuable.
“Be cautious about friending controversial individual; friending an unnamed source is the same as revealing the source’s identity. If you’ve promised confidentiality, you shouldn’t do it, even if the friend is using a pseudonym.” Betancourt said. This is interesting because if you work for an news organization or hit a certain friend mark then it may be a matter of going through your friend list and cleaning house. Many friends have close connections, familiar or otherwise. At a certain point of subscribers this may hit a tipping point of what the journalist focuses their time on.
Subscribers is a feature that journalists have moved to include is rather different from fans. Sarah Marshal said “More than 50 journalists at the New York Times use Subscribe including Nicholas Kristof with a staggering 365,000 subscribers.”
With this many subscribers there are a number of best practices a journalist can benefit by following. Some of which is described in Facebook 101 are:
- 5 line posts generate more responses.
- I enjoy photos and so does everyone else.
- Links with Thumbnail images make a big difference!
- Place stories in categories.
- Referral Clicks and story type. International stories usually have more referrals.
These best practices enhance the journalistic use of Facebook and Twitter.
I have found that when you have to condense an idea into a sentence it brings forth precision. Twitter also facilitate researching and posting breaking news stories, access to interviews and potentially their colleagues and associates.
Journalistics uses are also asking open ended questions to get perspective and range on story ideas. You can also gather valuable information from twitter tracking system as this allows you an overview of trends. Find and follow directors is a twitteresk yellow pages. There are so many journalistic resources within facebook and twitter. There all at your disposal.