I started today out like any other. I rolled out of bed and lazily searched through my sheets for my cell phone, once located I checked each of my social media outlets—Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. One of my favorite short story authors, Brian Andreas, must have done the same because the first thing to pop up on my Twitter feed was a tweet he sent out commending one of his followers for her writing skills. Even though it was not me he tweeted to, I felt excited to start tweeting more of my one-liners in hopes of being noticed by someone like Brian Andreas, a writer whom I admire. Part of Brian Andreas’ success is partially due to his writing skills but also due to his savvy social media skills. He is older than many of his readers but when it comes to social networking, he can party with the best of them.
I use this example because in modern journalism, and writing in general for that matter, creating a dialogue between the writer and the reader is an integral part of success for any hopeful writer. Journalists should not necessarily be “expected” to keep a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever else but if they want to succeed in the modern, fast pace world of news, they better hop on the social media train. I think that the negative stigma to keep up with social media comes from an expectation put on journalists by their editors. However, if they really sat down and thought about, posting your work on your Facebook page or tweeting out a blurb about your latest article does not take very much time out of your day but it does create a lot more buzz around your column. As for keeping up with conversation, writers do not need to reply to every single person but when readers see that their favorite columnist is paying attention to what they are saying, it makes them excited.
So, should modern journalists be expected to keep up with social media and technology trends? Not if they don’t want to but if that’s the case, they can find a job working in a small town with one local publication and leave the big city writing jobs for those willing to put the work in.
Change is scary for everyone but social media is taking over the world whether we want it to or not. We can either run from it or use this exciting new development in news to our advantage. For young journalists like me, the use of social media in news is exciting because when I apply for a job I am not only bringing my skills with me but my followers as well. Employers want to know that you have already created a fan base and can bring those readers with you when they hire you. As a young writer, I have already started a blog, a professional Twitter account and post to my Facebook page whenever I am published.
A recent article published in The Guardian recognized social media as one of the most effective ways to get a job. But be warned, with amazing technology comes immense responsibility. It is important to understand how to blog, tweet, Instagram, Facebook, etc. appropriately as not to offend any readers or potential employers.
The technological future of journalism is bright and I for one could not be more excited about it.