Social Media Debate: Best Practices vs. Bad Habits


Journalists have now been using social media for years to engage their audience, share their stories, develop sources and uncover amateur content. As this practice matures, is a consensus developing around a strong set of best practices? Or have we fallen into bad habits, using social media the way we do simply because “that’s the way it’s done”? Some of the leading social media editors in the news industry engage in a lively debate on whether it’s time to hit the reset button.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201211:19 am

Some last tips as this session comes to a close:

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201211:17 am

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With just two minutes left in the session, there’s a line of about 10 people waiting to ask questions of this popular panel.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201211:10 am

There are several things on the horizon for social journalism.

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Eric asks the million dollar question: Do newsrooms need social media editors?

“My is that this will become part of everyone’s toolkit,” Liz said.

Niketa disagrees — “There is still a need for social media leadership in newsrooms.”

Anthony says the job will evolve.

“We want the newsroom to do more of what we do.”

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:59 am

Do news organizations need a social media policy? When Liz was at The New York Times, she said they talked about it and decided no. At The Wall Street Journal, however, the staff wants a set of guidelines as a “rules for the road.”

“It really depends on your news organizations and your journalists.”

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:57 am

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Authenticating images is INCREDIBLY important on social media, the entire panel agrees. But how?

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:52 am

“Attribution is a huge problem with photos,” Liz said. Fair use is another issue for journalists on social.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:51 am

The crowd digests the topic of journalists having opinion social media as they move on to the topic of images.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:47 am

The panel of social media rockstars:

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:45 am

One important point from the debate about being first before you’re sure you’re right has been tweeted a ton throughout the audience:

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:41 am

Eric is bringing up one of the big ones — why is it that some journalists seem more comfortable sharing opinion on social networks?

Niketa says the same could be said for bloggers, but social has evolved so much that she she now believes there should be opinions — within reason.

“We’re humans, too. We have opinions,” she said.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:36 am

Next topic: How to handle unverified information?

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:33 am

Eric got a huge round of laughter when he revealed the hashtag for this session: #smpractices. Avoid using the ampersand, he said.

Guess this room is now awake after recovering from last night’s Yahootinis!

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:32 am

Next: Eric Cavin asks about liking pages or following politicians and the implication that might have.

Liz, Niketa and Anthony all agree that it doesn’t imply an opinion, just consumption of necessary information.

“You should like as many people as you can,” Liz said.

“People are going to have perceptions no matter what,” Anthony said. “I don’t think you should get too hung up on perceptions, but also have some common sense.”

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:28 am

Should you ever delete a tweet? Liz Herron says she’s changed her philosophy on that — if something is wrong and if there’s a bad link, deleting is best so the tweet doesn’t go as viral as it could. Anthony De Rose and Niketa Patel are concerned about transparency and the attempt to “sweep it under the rug” and how that will look to audiences.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:21 am

Within the first few minutes of the debate, the question about whether a retweet is an endorsement — Liz Heron says today, it’s a given that it isn’t.

Amy Bartner Sep 22, 201210:20 am