I recently spoke to a media outlet about some opportunities social media brings. It inspired me to write the quick list of social media ideas for journalists below:
- Join Facebook Pages that are relevant to your beat: emergency services, politics, not for profit, local government, the arts and so on. Get a feel for trends and topics in that sector and what the sector cares about. Identify potential spokespeople or talent for stories. (But please be respectful of that community. Don’t “steal” ideas or quotes or reveal private discussions. Ask for permission and seek participation, in order to remain a genuine member of that community. It’ll serve you better in the long run).
- Develop Twitter Lists of accounts that are good sources of information. You might have a Twitter List for local business people, Mayors, sports people and so on. These Lists can be made private if you don’t want to share. As you follow hundreds or thousands of Twitter accounts, Lists can help you save time and cut through your tweetstream.
- Use Twitter to find good talent: thought-provoking people who tweet share their views and passions. They’re microblogging (and often, also blogging) and have a lot to say about topics that may form the basis of your next news piece. You can get a feel for their knowledge and capacity by having a Twitter conversation with them first.
- Watch trending topics on Twitter. Use Trendsmap and Twirus to help. This illustrates what people are talking about now and also live conversations that may unearth story ideas and sources for you. You can use Trendsmap and Twirus to look at your location only.
- Follow regular hashtags where available like #saparli for South Australian politics, #auspol for Australian politics, #Adelaide, #agchatoz and the conference hashtags that cover what’s happening at key major events. You can set up columns for these in social media dashboards like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck; keep handy columns over the long term, quickly create and then delete the more short term topics.
- Use social media to lift your own profile and share your work. Share insights into your day, have conversations with others and network, to position yourself as the ‘go to’ journalist when there is a story to share. Be engaging with your social media community and they may reward you by reading your pieces, retweeting and resharing your work.
- Be inspired by what other organisations are doing in the media space. See for example The Guardian and how it crowdsources assistance with working through large data and its data centre