Thursday, August 11, 2011...10:34 am

Video: Why journalism must engage with social media

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Here’s a video from a talk by social media editor Chris Street to journalism students at UCA Farnham about the skills and role of a social media editor, and why traditional media need to develop social engagement.

Broadcast is over
If you think of yourselves as broadcasters, you’ve lost the battle – the broadcast days are over.

Look at job ads. A job advertised as “online community manager” is quite clearly a journalism job. But it has also clearly been changed by the effect of audience participation. What is social media doing to communication and to journalism? It’s not about going in as a trainee reporter and working your way up anymore. You need to be versatile and flexible to survive.

The audience is getting involved. You can’t ignore it and you can’t escape it.

An example from Facebook
Nestlé tried to hammer down comments that weren’t positive on its Facebook page. It caused a massive ruckus and was a great case study of how not to do social media. The “community manager” totally destroyed Nestlé’s reputation. All of the accusations were irrelevant, compared to the way that Nestlé reacted.

In the end, Nestlé had to suspend comments, because there was nothing they could say to save the situation. The story was all over Facebook, it made national news and caused the company’s stocks to fall.

There’s a direct financial impact from mis-engaging with your audience. It’s hugely powerful.

Broadcast doesn’t work. If you try broadcasting via social media platforms, the audience won’t like it; they won’t engage with you; they’ll stop following you.

You need to be thinking about how can I best communicate as a journalist with my audience on social media platforms in a collaborative way. Engagement, collaboration – they aren’t going to stop happening.

If you aren’t engaged with your audience, if you’re not enriching your audience’s life, there’s very little purpose for you as a journalist in this world.

Related post: Chris Street writes on the Bristol Editor blog about how to engage your audience via social media

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