The Internet has completely changed the landscape of the world. We no longer do things like we did twenty or even ten years ago. We get our news from online sources, we check the weather off of smartphones, we even stream our movies from Netflix. These things are in our lives to make life easier. Social media like Facebook and Twitter can do the same for journalists.
The days of carrying around a laptop with you everywhere are almost gone. Nowadays we carry either tablets that are becoming smaller and smaller every day, or going as light a possible and just taking are smart phones with us. This is one reason why journalist should to take advantage of social media. One, because if you do not have a computer with you it becomes increasingly hard to type out a story, but a 140 character post on Twitter is no problem. Second, the applications that the social media companies have come out with perfectly integrate with these technologies making it easier and faster than ever to use them.
Even though Facebook and Twitter are both social media a journalist should not use them in the exact same way. A journalist might want to you use Twitter to cover events while they are happening. Twitter is suited perfectly for this because you are only allowed to use 140 characters at a time, and while it is true that you can use a hyperlink to send the reader to the entire story, it can sometimes be a tedious process to do so. Instead you can use Twitter for what it was originally intended to be used for. To keep people up to date, minute by minute, with clear concise content. Imagine how exciting it could be for someone to be following your twitter feed while you are at a huge event like the Olympics or a Supreme Court hearing.
If you want to post an entire story that you have done, than Facebook is a much better solution. This form of social media is not limited by a character count and therefore is a much better way to get someone to read your stories because it is more streamlined.
Another reason that these forms of social media can be so helpful to journalists is because it helps the readers. Not only will they be able to interact with your stories and give you there feed back in a quick fashion, but also they will be able to find things more easily than ever before. No longer will they have to search an entire section of a newspaper or go through countless links on Google to find a story with your by-line. Instead they can go right to your page and find all of your stories instantaneously.
Just because these tools can make a journalists life easier does not mean that there are not risks. Since it is so easy to post content a journalist might be to quick to put something out there. In the past a story could run by two or three sets of eyes before being published, but with social media it is automatic. So if a journalist is too quick on the trigger they could get themselves in some hot water. To avoid this is easy though. Just makes sure you check and double check your facts just as you would if you were writing in a traditional sense. That way you are putting the best information out there, but at a faster rate with a larger reach.