Social Networking in the Media

Social Networking

In Becky Jackson’s blog, she discusses the use of social networking sites in the media. THV Insider’s article on social networking sites and news gathering talks about the rapid spread of Facebook and Twitter.

I like the Hillary Clinton  quote that Jackson pulls from the article: “I wouldn’t know a twitter from a tweeter,” says Clinton. “But apparently it is very important and I think keeping that line of communications open and allowing people to share information is an important expression of the right to speak out and to be able to organize that we value.”

THV uses both Twitter and Facebook to connect and reach out to viewers.  Jackson also discusses how on a less journalistic scale  E!, the entertainment network, uses Twitter.  I’ve known that E! uses Twitter for awhile now since  the network makes  certain that viewers know they Tweet regularly.

Facebook and MySpace

In her blog, Shahdai Richardson summarized and analyzed “Facebook Journalism,” a article by Rory O’ Connor. The article is an interview with Randi Zuckerberg, who is involved with Facebook’s creative marketing. Richardson highlights important points made in the interview. She said that Facebook users are more trusting of content recommended by friends and use the site to filter available news content.

Zuckerberg said, “In my discussions with many mainstream media companies, I constantly hear them talk about why they are squeamish about posting their content on other sites – their content is their lifeblood, it’s all they have… why would they give it away for free on other sites?”

She makes a valid point, but I think the benefits of using sites like Facebook and MySpace to acquire news still outweigh the disadvantages. Even if my articles were being read free of charge, they’re still being read. And I could easily and quickly share my work with many more people by uploading it to these sites.

The other article that Richardson discusses is “Found in (My)Space,” an American Journalism Review article by Jason Spencer.

Richardson said that Spencer sees MySpace as a valuable tool and resource for journalists. The demographics of the site, possibility of story tips, gaining insight and verifying information all make MySpace a very relevant tool. It would be interesting to see how popular the site still is since it seems as if many people have moved on to Facebook.

Richardson provides CNN’s profile page on Facebook as her example of Facebook journalism. Personally, I’m a little surprised that the page doesn’t have more fans, but I agree with Richardson that CNN has been a strong leader in using social networking sites in journalism.

Twitter and Text Messages

Jennifer Rios discusses the use of Twittering and texting in the world of journalism in her blog. Her first article is from Mindy McAdams, who teaches online journalism. Along with many of McAdams’ students, Rios said she really doesn’t get Twitter. I’d have to agree, but then again I didn’t get Facebook’s appeal until last semester when I finally caved and signed up. I do see how Twitter can be a useful tool for journalists, especially broadcasters and columnists. As an aspiring copy editor, I’m not sure I’m set on the idea for myself yet.

McAdams challenges her students to consider asking one question when using Twitter: “Do you even know why you’re doing what you’re doing?”

Rios also said journalists should ask themselves, “What will you Tweet for?”

Next, she discusses a blog post by Lauren Rabaino called “Mobile news alerts: an underused tool.” Text messaging is another valuable tool used by journalists since many people read texts the moment they receive them. Rabaino uses Barack Obama’s campaign as her proof that texts can be effective since some people attribute his success to his accessibility.


Kayla Smith writes in her own blog about how and if blogging is really journalism. One article from, asks this same question. Both Smith and the article’s author seem to be in agreement that blogging is not necessarily always journalism. I think Smith makes a valid point that anyone can be a blogger, but not everyone can be a journalist. I, for one, had my own blog way back when and would never consider it journalistic. Heck, I’d probably be embarrassed if anyone actually read my ninth grade thoughts.

Her second article, an essay by a journalism blogger, talks about how it may be hard for journalists to adapt to bloggers and citizen journalists. I hope these journalists learn to adjust to this new type of media because it can be a good thing. Like the other types of social networking, blogs can connect journalists to their audiences.

I like the article that Smith includes. The article talks about a new paper in London that includes only content from blogs. Although if all papers turned into that, there would be no need for editors.

Readers Comments/Bulletin Boards

Jillian Krotki blogs about journalists using reader comments and bulletin boards online. Like Krotki, I think it’s a good idea for news organizations to embrace reader and user comments. Not only does it allow users to participate, comments can be a help to the media, as well. Like her, I never gave much thought to the possible libel and defamation that could occur as a result.

The first article she discusses is from, and it acknowledges that media sites have a greater risk of bearing responsibility for the comments if it allows them.

Krotki provides a good example of a news site that uses reader comments effectively. NBC 15 in Wisconsin requires users to provide their name, city, e-mail address and phone number, so members of the news organization can contact viewers and have further conversations with them.

I agree with Krotki’s opinion on the site’s policy. She said, “I feel that NBC has done a great job including their viewers while still maintaining control over libelous and defamatory content.”


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