Diving in the Pond of Social Media

The Internet. A huge wave of information that washes over our era, and journalists in news organizations have to grab their surfboards if they want to use its force. There’s a reason why it’s called “surfing the net”. It can be a lot of fun and excitement, but it can also be very painful when sending you crashing in the sand.

Just like for surfing, there are keys as a journalist to using Internet’s fullest potential when gathering and divulging information. Here are a few tips that journalists should follow as they venture in the depths of social media…

  • Be personal and transparent

The point of having a blog or owning a Twitter account is to let your voice be heard…well mostly read if you’re not posting a video or audio file online. A reason for being personal online is  to get your audience’s feedback. Journalists can then use their audience’s feedback as sources and quotations for their work!

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This says it all. Be truthful.

If everyone is personal, then true information spreads. Besides, the more personal you are, the more popular and more Brand-like you become!

  • Engage with the public

Well that’s the whole meaning of being a journalist! You have to communicate. Giving information for the public to process is great, but it’s important that the public pays back. Anybody can be an online journalist nowadays because almost everyone holds newsworthy information. Your job as a student journalist is to retrieve that information by interacting with people. Being social today has never been easier with the Internet. It’s important to engage.

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Try interacting with people and you might just get information from them.

  • Ignore the Trolls

People can be mean online. In fact, they can be so mean they can destroy your self-confidence. Why? Because they can. Nothing is stopping them. After all, they’re typing down words just to see them on a screen. These people are called “Trolls”.

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This is “Troll Face”. It’s like an official logo for people who torment others online.

So what do you do when someone is aggressive? Do you engage with him? I believe that that solution is a waste of time. You have more important things to do than to deal with these people. Poynter has more information on how to handle tricky situations like those.

  • Beware of what you post online

This is possibly one of the most important rules  journalists from a news organizations must follow if they want to keep their job. With our interconnected world, almost nothing is private. There are leaks in many social networks such as Facebook. Keep what you consider personal to yourself, avoid posting it on the net. Furthermore, people look up to you as an online journalist for information and a reasonable opinion. It is important you keep it that way by avoiding offending anyone with comments like this one. If you made a mistake, you’ll erase it. But Internet will hold it forever.

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If you make mistakes online, doors will definitely be closed in your life.

  • Beware of the words you read

As mentioned before, anybody can be a journalist nowadays. However that doesn’t mean that everybody constantly gives correct information. Make sure you check the people’s background before publishing information and verify sources as this site suggests.

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Even for dating you have to be careful with what people say.

Those are some of the basic guidelines News organizations have to follow when using Social Media

For more info on online journalism and social media, here are a few links.
The Star: Engaging Readers: Hazards of Online Journalism

Teaching Online Journalism

8 common mistakes when writing for the Web

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