When it comes to social media for journalists, less may not be more

Here are some good posts for journalists – or anyone interested in the changing face of media – to read from my surfing around the blogosphere:

Why less is not more:  A post by internet marketing consultant Chris Garrett offers some sage advice on social media use.  In essence, he sayd, for it to work, you have to actually use it. He takes issue with the approach of some (many) who try to automate every aspect of their social media use to save time. Scheduled tweets; interacting only with the big wigs, not the regular Joes; limiting followers. He points out that this would be as foolish as a business limiting how much time it uses the phone.

Garrett’s advice is geared at mareketers, but I think it offers much for journalists. If your attempts at using social media come across as if people are interacting with a computer, guess what, people won’t want to interact with you. Who would? Now I don’t think Garret is saying people should spend their lives on Twitter, and I’m not advocating that either. But if you want a tool to work for you, you need to give it more than half a chance.

Don’t blame the aggregators: Michael Arrington, at TechCrunch, raises an important point for news organizations with this post about the value of aggregators. News sites, at least some of them, hate when aggregating sites compile a list of links that include their sites. And that makes absolutely no sense.  As Arrington explains: 

When someone visits your site they are doing you a favor. Not the other way around. And when an aggregator puts up a link to your site, they are doing you a favor by sending you traffic. Not the other way around.

What would a Google newsroom look like? Owni offers a compelling glimpse of what it might look like, complete with a graphic showing who reports to whom. The idea isn’t what Google looks like. It’s what a newsroom would look like if it followed the principles that Google espouses on the Web. 

The graphic is in French, but if you half paid attention in your high school French class, you can easily figure it out. The story is translated into the English. Best takeaway:  This approach calls for a ” journalism that is not just content production but becomes an on-going process that is based on the strength of the network (information fragmentation, new rhythms, social media, user generated content.)”

What the news biz can learn from food marketers: Tom Cunniff uses a novel food analogy on MediaBizBloggers to explain that news publishers need to better understand what food marketers get so well: You can charge more for what’s rare. He cites the example of Cave Swiftlet saliva,  the main ingredient in bird’s nest soup. This ingredient is so rare, the soup goes for $30 a bowl.

A less-exotic example is one I’ve cited before — cheese. Sliced American is cheap; goat cheese made in small batches is more expensive. Or consider saffron, a spice harvested by hand from crocus flowers that goes for $50 a quarter-ounce. The problem is: If you’re selling sliced American, you can’t charge as if you’re selling Cave Swiftlet saliva soup. Cunniff offers some smart tips for dealing with this issue, such as sell it by the slice, make it bigger, make it smaller, and — my personal favorite — make it more convenient.


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6 thoughts on “When it comes to social media for journalists, less may not be more

  1. You make some very good points. Quality almost always matters as much as quantity – and if you want the best you have to pay for it.

  2. @Bob – I think people are willing to pay for the best, but what they define as “the best” isn’t always what news organizations think is “the best.”

  3. Pingback: ¡Alerta: Las redes sociales son un buen recurso! « Producción de Noticias Digitales

  4. I personally believe that bloggers unless they have had ‘high profile’ experience, can only benefit from social media if in fact they where a part of it?

  5. I personally believe that to effectively use social media a blogger/journo needs to embed themselves in it. Look at people who use Twitter. They gain so much from being ‘followed’ on an essentially source free site!

  6. Pingback: Journalists’ social media use | Save the Media | Chipcinnati

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