I always thought I would need more than 140 characters to express myself, turns out, I don’t. Nobody does anymore. We are in the thick of the social media age, an age where emoticons have replaced feelings and tweets have replaced headlines. And whether we like it or not, we kind of have no choice. We must adapt or die, like or be disliked, tweet or retreat, and this is especially true for journalists.
I spoke of the digitalization of this industry in a previous post where I stressed the importance of journalists embracing technology. This notion feeds into my thoughts of social media tools, which are more consistently used for the posting of cat videos rather than the prestige of journalism. Despite this, these are the tools that make us socially relevant and without them we become antiques to the younger and subsequently younger generation.
Twitter, for instance, is highly prevalent in the world of journalism. After all it is basically a machine that produces headline after headline, it’s like a newspaper minus all that filler text journalists used to call articles. PBS’s Off Book explores the influence of Twitter on journalism in its aptly named video, “The Impact of Twitter on Journalism.” One idea the video addresses is the use of Twitter, not as a social platform but as a tool in which to instigate a “global conversation.” That’s deep for website that totes a blue birdie as it’s mascot.
Indeed, as journalists, we must be a part of this global conversation, since most of the time we will be greatly impacting or even starting this conversation. Let’s use these tools as a connector to the once invisible receiver of our words: our readers. Let’s engage in what they think, how they feel, their opinion and dare I say it, their criticism of our work. This will only make us better, wiser even, as we continue on in the ever-evolving field of journalism.
Though I must admit there are some hazards when blurring the lines of personal and occupational use of social media. When using these tools it’s hard to remain professional because social media feels so personal. There is a line that needs to be walked and it is quite a delicate one. You can use humor and interest to liven up your feed, nobody likes to follow a bore, but you also have to know when to be perfectly objective and when to leave your opinion at the door…hey that rhymed. And if your looking for an un-borning, somewhat interesting Twitter to tweet to, follow me @ElleRebel2014