Social Media Tools for Journalists

Nowadays, there are a million things that journalists need to know. The newsrooms have shrunk, the responsibilities have piled up, and it seems like every day, there is a new social network that you need to join to remain relevant. Social media management can be a breeze if you just have the right tools, which is what I have here for you.

  • Bitly is an online link shortener that is a great tool to keep track of how popular your blog posts are. This application stores data on how many times a link you created was clicked, where it was clicked, what platform someone clicked on it from, and when it was clicked. This can help you ascertain when is the best time to share your content across platforms. Another great feature of Bitly is that it saves all of your links, so I never lose track of my work. It is important to remember to re-share your content especially if it is content that is “evergreen,” which means it never really goes out of style. Re-sharing content on social media is very “in” right now, according to industry leading professionals like Guy Kawasaki, a brand evangelist for Canva. facebook-share-default1
  • Buffer is a wonderful website that lets you schedule content across platforms. From Facebook to Twitter, Buffer does it all. Its simple design is extremely user-friendly, so it is really easy to get acquainted with. Unfortunately, you can only schedule 10 posts at a time without a subscription. I like to keep my Buffer full of past evergreen articles scheduled for future dates, so I know my past content will keep getting shared and read. buffer-app-screenshot
  • Klout can help you gain an influence on social media sites. You receive a “Klout score” upon signing up that shows how relevant you are based on your social media interactions. A score of 55 is considered to be an industry influencer. Klout allows you to explore different topics, which people aren’t yet talking about in your social circles. It then allows you to schedule posts you find at times that it knows your followers are most active. You can schedule as much content as you want on Klout, so you can watch your Klout score and influence on social media rise quickly. Klout can help you remain relevant through curating content across platforms. c4b5bbd6-b93b-4037-9b97-35fe0099f3e6
  • IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, can automate processes to cut down on time that you have to spend on social media accounts. You can convert Tweets to Facebook page posts. You can save Tweets to your Google Drive. You can even have the weather texted to you in the morning. This app automates just about everything, and it can make your life so much easier, especially if you forget to share your content across platforms.IFTTT-Image-01-1024x716.png

Snapchat receives backlash for ‘racist’ filter

Snapchat dawned the new Bob Marley filter in honor of 4/20, and people were not pleased. Many people saw it as glorified blackface and took to Twitter to voice their complaints.

The filter gives you dreadlocks and a darker complexion, and I have to wonder how did Snapchat not expect this backlash? Blackface is not acceptable, and it has caused its fair share of PR nightmares for schools, people or companies that steered too close to it. (Like the time a kid wore blackface to portray Nicki Minaj at school and made national headlines for it.)

Other people saw this filter as a way of mocking Bob Marley’s legacy.

Needless to say, very many people were not happy with this filter, and Snapchat has yet to reply.

What I learned in #LinkedInChat

Today, I participated in my first-ever Twitter chat. LinkedIn experts, marketers, copywriters, business executives and fellow students provided their insights, advice and tricks on how to enhance LinkedIn profiles through the use of recommendations.

Some of my key takeaways from this week’s #LinkedInChat were:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask people who you have formed a strong professional relationship with for a recommendation.
  2. Only ask someone for a recommendation if you would feel comfortable writing a recommendation for them.
  3. Don’t have too many recommendations.
  4. You can provide someone with a list of things you would like them to discuss in their recommendation, or, at least, tell them why you want a recommendation.
  5. Don’t be too pushy about asking for a recommendation.
  6. Give recommendations to get recommendations, but when someone gives you a recommendation, don’t immediately return the favor. It is best to wait a few days.
  7. Make sure the recommendations that you write are personalized and thoughtful, so the recommendation sounds sincere.

After this LinkedIn chat, I feel more comfortable asking people I have built a professional relationship with. I learned that recommendations can fill in the gaps in your resume and confirm your skills from a second-hand source.

I also gained 8 new followers from people who I engaged with during this chat. LinkedIn chat helped me to begin to develop relationships with other professionals. It was a really great experience, which I will definitely do again!

Click here for some tips on how to write good recommendations on LinkedIn.

Click here for some more tips on how to score more recommendations on LinkedIn.

My take on social media as a communications major

The rise of social media has revolutionized communication giving anyone with Internet access the capability to create and curate content. As a journalism major with a specific concentration in online and public interest communication, social media platforms are integrated into the majority of my classes along with studying how people communicate through the Internet.

As a result, I am almost constantly behind a screen, writing, reading or editing. One of the major criticisms of our generation is that our obsession with our online appearance fueled by the capability to share anything and everything online contributes to a lack of “presentness” in life.

Another common criticism of the millennial generation is how their obsession with social media fuels their narcissism through the vapid gratification that social media offers via “likes.” Conversely, studies have shown that social media can also cause others (i.e. lonely people) anxiety as they are exposed to a social community of their peers, which they are excluded from.

Although I personally hold a certain reverence for social media because I have seen how it connects the world and how it can help change the world, I am aware of the limitations of these benefits.

For example, the ALS “ice bucket challenge” that was the most successful charitable challenge that went viral on social media in summer 2014 can act as an example of how social media can act as a double-edged sword.

Pros:

  • More than a million challenge videos were posted online, which increased awareness of this rare and dibilitating disease.
  • Over $50 million was raised, as compared to the $2.2 million that was raised last year.
  • The challenge was humorous and engaging, which actively encouraged more people to participate in it.

 

Cons:

  • As Arielle Pardes from Vice said: “It’s like a game of Would-You-Rather involving the entire internet where, appallingly, most Americans would rather dump ice water on their head than donate to charity.”
  • Narcissism ultimately fueled the participation.
  • Brian Carney asks if the “pretend suffering” of the ice bucket challenge is really the best way to help people suffering of ALS and encourage people to participate in charity.

 

This viral charitable challenge sparked a great deal of dialogue not only about ALS, but also a discussion about the ethics of whether it matters why people choose to give. Can something be considered bad when it does so much good?

This is parallel to my thoughts about social media.

Social media connects the world, but it does so at a cost. Social media has brought the rise of citizen journalism, immediate access to information, free advertising platform for businesses, etc.

Social media also causes the rapid dispersion of false information. There is a very crowded chatter on social media that is difficult to sift through at many times. Free advertising on social media is somewhat debatable due to the implementation of Facebook’s new algorithm, which makes it more difficult for Facebook pages to make it on people’s news feeds without many “likes” and the success of sponsored posts.

In addition, social media only connects parts of the world that have access to Wifi or don’t have government regulations on communication that restrict access to different platforms of social media.

As much as I am passionate about communications on the Internet and how much good it does, I think it is important to understand the inherent limitations of it. It can take away from my life at times. It can add to my life at times.

It’s all about balance and understanding.