Social media is becoming increasingly popular for journalists to promote themselves and their work and to share breaking news, according to the Andrea Peterson’s Washington Post article, “Three Charts That Explain How U.S. Journalists Use Social Media.” Microblogs like Twitter are the most heavily used platform because these sites provide easy access to breaking news, provide sneak-peeks into what competitors are reporting, and make communication with audiences and fellow journalists quick and easy.
Although social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be easily abused and littered with non-journalistic clutter, those who use it to promote news, share interesting web links and information, and make valuable connections to readers and other writers create planes that expand the world of journalism. Social media sites are being used to promote some of the most talented individuals and expose news that might otherwise go unreported. Microblogs break the confines of strict journalistic reporting and open up the web, allowing for more creative sharing of information while still promoting news values. Working for a newspaper or radio talk show is no longer the only way that a person can spread news: with social media, being a reporter is an option for everyone. The definition of what constitutes “news” is changing, and social media embraces this idea.
When a 140-character limit is the only constraint a Twitter user faces, the reporting possibilities are almost endless. Within 140 characters, a user can provide a web link to a larger article, post an image or video, write private or public messages to another user, write messages to multiple users… and all of these actions are accessible by a worldwide audience of millions. Those journalists who take time to familiarize themselves with social media and use it as a tool to connect and spread valuable information are changing the face of news.