Tips<140: Journalists Getting Started on Social Media

Tasked with coming up with a “best practices” list for journalists just getting their feet wet on social media, I asked other digital journalists what one piece of advice they would give digital rookies. Here were my favorite responses responses. (You can view the Storify thread here.)

I like this one. It is entirely too easy to hit send on social media platforms before actually thinking about what you are saying. Think about it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Engage. Talk to your readers. Crowdsource, just like I did for this post.

You only get 140 characters on Twitter, you don’t have to use them all when fewer will suffice. And, please, don’t go over 140 (on Twitter, that is).

Twitpics! Show your followers what you see. There are no excuses if you have a smart phone.

Your Tweets and posts will be linked to you forever – even if you delete them! Seriously. Give it some thought- you don’t want to go viral for the wrong reason.

Check your grammar. If you’re a journalist, you should be able to craft a Tweet or post without having to misspell words or use the number “2” instead of to or too.

This is great advice. Watch others in your newsroom that are active on Twitter. If they Tweet a lot, they likely know what they’re doing. Search Twitter and Facebook for effective journalists across the industry as well. Watch what they do. And, more importantly, watch what they don’t do.

Reach out. Even if you don’t know a person in real life, give them a shout if you have a question or like what they posted. Start a conversation. Don’t be passive.

Ethics. You are a journalist first and foremost. Don’t forget that.

I agree, but with one caveat. You don’t always have to talk about your profession. Be human. Be personable. Be funny. Be yourself. Remember to keep it classy.

Give credit where it’s due (and watch your caps lock).

What one tip would you give journalists getting started on social media? Add them below in the comment area or give me a shout on Twitter @amartinmedia #tips<140.


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