#TweetToTheJournalist

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Connection is one of the most important elements to success in journalism in the 21st century. It is almost expected for journalists not only to have social media accounts, but to update them frequently. This allows for audience members from all platforms to create a more personal connection with journalists. With them, audiences can keep up with a journalists’ most recent projects, opinions, thoughts, and more. If there are ever any issues or things readers want to discuss, they do not have to write a letter to the editor anymore. Instead they can just send a tweet to the journalist. Traditional journalists have a bit of trouble with this transition. Is New Better? explains why it is necessary for journalists to learn about digital journalism. Twitter and Facebook are probably the most popular forms of connectivity between journalist and the public.

Many people, especially millennials, get their news via social media. When journalists post articles, videos, blog posts, etc., to social media, their audience grows. Not only will their stories be easily accessible to their immediate audience, they are easily accessible to everyone. If a story is interesting or relevant, it will spread very quickly. Sometimes, it does not even need source links to a full story. People have shorter attention spans than they did 20 years ago. Those  that consume news via social media want all of the details in 140 characters or less. We have established that no one has time to pick up dozens of print articles daily. However, some do not even have time to read a single article. With that said, journalists also must turn stories into short posts so that news can be read on-the-go. Short. Sweet. To the point. That is the motto here. It becomes difficult to limit words about something compelling into a few words. This is where journalists turn to the basics. Who? What? When? Where? and Why? By including these details, readers can pretty much get the gist of the story. Adding a link or a relevant hashtag can also give readers access to more information about it. Aside from use to link their own work, journalists can also social media in other ways to their advantage. Twitter has two main functions that all journalists should pay attention to: Trends and Moments.

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All trending topics or moments typically use hashtags to be included in what is essentially a worldwide discussion. “Trends” show a list of the most tweeted about topics of the day. These typically include news, viral Internet topics, or even about the day in general. As today is Father’s Day, nearly half of the trends regard the special day. “Trends” are also tailored to the user, but can be changed to his or her preference. The “Moments” tab condenses some of the most recent news for users to view and catch up on. It gives details to these stories, accompanied with photos or videos. It also includes tweets about them from other users. “Moments” includes a variety of news categories, some of which change everyday. News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun, appear daily. Categories like NBA Finals and Election 2016 only appear as they are relevant. Both of these functions remain important for journalists. With them, they can see what people are talking about, and very quickly, get specific details about the news. However, it becomes crucial for journalists to have separate social media accounts for personal and professional use.

Having separate social media accounts for professional use should be common sense. Both accounts, personal and professional, are used for separate audiences. Personal accounts are obviously intended to include friends, families, and other acquaintances. Undoubtably, you would want to keep these profiles private. Professional accounts are intended for readers, viewers, and any others you would want your work to reach. Although, these accounts can serve as a double-edged sword. While many keep them public to reach bigger audiences, any type of personal information on the account is also available to the public. Privacy becomes a major concern here. Everyone, not just journalists, with public accounts should be cautious of what they include on their profiles and in posts. To name a few, the usage of real names, locations, biographical information, are all things to take into consideration with public accounts. While connection is important for journalistic success, it does not come at the price of privacy.

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4 Comments on #TweetToTheJournalist

  1. I agree that connection is huge in today’s society. Everyone is looking to connect in the world and social media has given people an easier way to do so. I also agree that it is best to have a personal account and a professional account. I wrote in my blog that it is so easy for journalists to accidentally make a mistake and it can never be deleted off the internet. The internet can be used in good ways and bad ways and it is important that journalists understand the good and bad things about all outlets.

  2. Hey Samantha,

    You brought up a good point. Every journalist that I follow posts very regularly on social media, and if they don’t, they will not have a large following. Also, I liked how you brought up that everyone’s attention span is shrinking. Journalists must pay attention to this detail if they wish to be successful on the web. Nobody wants to read long, in-depth news stories; they just want to skim the most important details.

  3. I really liked how you talked about moments and trends on Twitter. A lot of people who aren’t familiar with Twitter might read that and realize all the benefits to the site, especially when it comes to journalism.
    You’re absolutely right when you say that people’s attention spans are much shorter than they used to be. That’s why it’s so important for journalists to make every word pack a punch in their posts. It’s an art to be able to tell a story or get people interested about a story in 140 characters or less!

  4. I liked your quote, “If a story is interesting or relevant, it will spread very quickly.” This can be good and bad for us as journalists and Millennials. If information is accurate and quickly shared, this can be a good thing. For instance, once photos of China’s Yulin Festival spread throughout Facebook and Instagram, animal lovers and activists were quick to fight the sick celebration and help dogs in China as much as possible. On the other hand, often stories are quickly spread because of their entertaining content, but do not end up being accurate or true. Because we have such short attention spans, we do not often check our sources for legitimacy which is a very dangerous habit of this generation of journalists.

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