To be or not to be stupid

Humans can get so worked up about certain issues before eventually realizing that the simplest of answers was floating right under their nose. Are large emotion-less organizations any better? Hardly.

Actually, overthinking has become a common trait amongst some of the world’s most renowned news entities. At a time when information and opinion are flying around willy-nilly on social media, media moguls around the world are pressing the conservative button with both hands.

Restricting social media policies keep shackling journalists and reporters in a virtual 20th century prison. It’s as if editors and broadcasters can’t keep up with recent history. Wake up people, the Internet happened!

With the information landscape evolving at a furious pace in recent years, journalism can only find certainty in it’s uncertain future.

“Anyone who says they know what the media is going to do is a liar,” said Dennis Swibold, a University of Montana journalism professor. “We have to be prepared for wherever it may go. Our students are going to build the next evolution.”

The daunting next evolution…

However, to reach that hallowed next step in journalism, reporters are going to need more lists of dos than don’ts.

Simple, no?

Nevertheless, many social media policies forbid journalists from engaging in a conversation with their readers. Be it via Twitter, Facebook or blogs, this non-presence can eventually lead to distrust between the public and the news provider as well as foster the presence of trolls.

Long gone are the days when newspapers worked in their ivory towers far from the public’s gaze. The general public is now the most influential media mogul on the planet. That immense power now wielded by the masses has changed the way most newspapers and broadcasters go about their business.

Here are three social media guidelines journalists (and their organizations) should follow in order to nurture a healthy relationship with their readers, their followers and their subscribers.

  •  Interact with others as much as possible. Reply to your followers, acknowledge comments and explore the comments section of your blog.
  • Share other people’s work at least as much as you promote your own work. You’re not the only brilliant journalist out there. Act like it.
  • BE HUMAN. You’re not a machine and the general public tends to forget that. Remind your followers that you’ re just like them. Show some emotion.

Basically, don’t be stupid.

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