Written by Thanzyl Thajudeen on Monday 21st March 2011 at 2:31 am
Journalism is changing grounds – more than ever, journalists globally are turning out to making the maximum use of the massive opportunities Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and various other social media holds. People are increasingly on these social platforms when it comes to up-to-second news, happenings, incidents, debates, raising voices, and much more. Think about the celebrities for example, I mean they are the biggest and their page tops awesome rankings in the Top Page lists in Facebook; they have a massive number of viewership on videos uploaded on YouTube; they are tweeting like crazy on Twitter (mostly from their handheld devices); they have their own interactive blogs and online forums – I mean just like celebrities, journalists too have a whole community around them – So why not get into all these tools and make your voice?
The dramatic change due to increasing rate of technology has opened up opportunities for journalists to connect with the public on an unprecedented level. The rise of a range of social media resources has changed how a story is told and consumed. I really would be thanking for these tools available in today’s world as journalists can get instant feedback on their work, gather meaningful tips, track trends and happenings – and beyond everything, to build valuable relationships with the public which is the foremost importance.
Journalists’ way of leveraging social media to gather stories
1. Get yourself subscribed to RSS feeds
I hope you are aware what RSS feeds are. Get into RSS feeds as it allows reporters and journalists to monitor plenty of sources, in case about thousands of sources – and the best part is – in very little time. By subscribing to the content of industry websites which I am sure you must be aware of, online versions of magazines and other print materials, and even blogs and online forums of industry watchers, journalists won’t even have to leave their laptop. For instance if you find something on an industry blog or something, follow up, verify and quote, and you might probably be the first true media source to report it, you’ll beat most people to the story! You may see now how critical it is to have RSS feeds – you will surely be ahead.
2. Get into Alerts and Search
Just like PR agencies and organizations that are considered about online reputation trying to monitor what’s being said about their brands online, you as a journalist also should monitor the terms, companies or individuals that you’re covering about. For example, you may never know what someone will tell badly on Twitter (just tweet) about on the story you are covering or put up a status or negative comment on Facebook link, post, etc!
The best way is to subscribe to Google or Yahoo Alerts that are freely available – enter the keywords and keep tracking and monitoring of what is being said about the topic you are covering on the digital world where bad word-of-mouth and negative comments buzz at a lightning speed. Increasingly, Twitter is being used so much to update opinions, news, comments, views, etc in less than 140 characteristics – it’s vital to use Twitter search on ‘search.twitter.com’ – More than I telling all this, I would advise you to get yourself onto this and experience – it’s what’s happening today, this is what you need to do to get onto the top of the stories.
3. Take participation throughout blogs, online forums, communities, and relevant sites
As stated previously, many people out there including industry leaders, influencers, opinion leaders, columnists, etc have their own page – may it be a blog, online forum, a community site that brings like-minded people together, and other relevant sites that reflect the same.
All these sites carry out many information and sources of news and other voices covering a range of topics that are trending in today’s environment – may it be industry, politics, organizations, anything! The best thing is to be a contributing and participating member – this will increase your presence and reputation too. Think something beyond – when you do this – someone may well reach you and tell you an uncovered story or a hot tip for example!
The secret key: Growth, Engagement and Understanding
Just doing the three steps stated previously is not it; there needs to be an ongoing continuous improvement – to grow your audience, interest, likeliness, reputation and relevance. As we know that with anyone in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a variety of others, the more engaged you are with a community of followers and the more value you provide them, the more your community will grow. This is a known factual science.
Firstly, you need to get into the right engagement and make the followers feel comfortable where the voice is raised. I’m telling this over again – you need to take participation – get into subjects on Facebook page and groups, tweet relevant interested Twitter followers and interest groups, online blogs and forums, and so much more. As we well know, they will promote by sharing links, re-tweeting, commenting, sharing posts with others – this is what I’m talking about – get social!
Secondly, if you are covering a particular topic, you’ll find so many online communities that may well be very useful and critical to your knowledge. Focus to your geographic locations for instance or where the influencers lie in the audience. One of the best tools that I could recommend to get on right now is Twitter – it will be your baby – pick groups, follow them and participate in their tweets.
Thirdly, you need to bookmark to drive traffic and interest. This means that you’ll have to be familiar with sites like Digg, Mixx, StumbleUpon, Reddit and the like (I hope you have heard about all these resources that can be leveraged to its maximum), submit great moving content to those sites on a continuous regular basis and build up a network of friends who will vote for the content you submit – this means that you can become a traffic driver and push people to comment and share!
Finally, make sure you are responding to any comments that is being said out – this is one mistake where every journalist makes – journalists gets too lost in their own time and space – it’s not a good sign – you need to keep a dialogue and interest going on. You need to create an environment that is sharing and caring what the audience and followers say about on your topic or site or anything – watch it blossom like a flower.
Sri Lanka: Facebook vs. Twitter in Social Journalism
When it comes to journalists using social media if we take it on a global scale, Twitter is by far the top platform for reporting in a real-time basis and source reaching – this is due to Twitter being public platform and most contents are accessible openly in nature. Taking Facebook into consideration, it is somewhat not only continuing to scale for many journalists globally and increasingly becoming public – Facebook has real advantage when it comes to posting more and more – not like twitter which tweets in 140 characters or less!
Looking at the Sri Lankan context, Facebook may well be the best platform for journalism to rise up in the digital world. This is due to Twitter not growing in Sri Lanka – so far, there are no any statistics for Twitter when it comes to Sri Lanka – but yes, we have got it for Facebook though, and to say – it’s massive.
Facebook is experiencing 50.81% penetration when it comes to Sri Lanka’s total online population – that is 902,460 users when I glanced through the statistics as of 01st of March, and has showed a significant growth in the user base – 78 per cent is from the 18 to 34 year olds, along with a 9 per cent from 35 – 54 year olds.
The article also appeared in print:
Thanzyl Thajudeen is the youngest Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing globally, and is the Chief Executive of Mark & Comm Limited, a boutique strategic marketing, reputation and communications consultancy and think tank.blogs and online forums, celebrities, digital journalism, Facebook, journalism now, journalists, leveraging social media, thanzyl, thanzyl thajudeen, twitter, youtube
No comments yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.