Social Media Coordinator and Editor: Mutually Exclusive?

After reading Mandy Jenkin’s (former HuffPo self-proclaimed “Twitter Monkey”) thoughts on being a social media editor and what that does to her slightly less social Journalism aspirations, I had a few ideas of my own that I thought it would be good to share with the public.

I’ve been a “social media coordinator” since 2008. I started with a Facebook group, linked to my personal account, for my internship with This Old House magazine. The group was used to promote the TOH Pumpkin Carving Contest. And then I used Facebook and Twitter to start another contest — The Gingerbread House Carving contest, which they continue to do today.

Back in ’08, I didn’t tweet as much as I do today (although I’ve been on Twitter since Dec. ’08) and most people I spoke with thought it was a dumb service that would die out.

How wrong they were!

Journalism, in my opinion, has always been social. My professors at Quinnipiac University often reminded us that from the dawn of time, people have been asking “What’s going on?” “What’s the news?” “Sup bro?” All of these questions mean the same thing — people are sharing (interacting) with one another about the events happening around them.

Thanks to the Web, journalists (and companies, software developers and countless others) now have a way to access their “fans” in real time. We can ASK for feedback in a million different ways. We can see what the people — our ultimate “employers” — want to know.

That’s what makes me so passionate about Journalism. That’s what makes me write and fight every single day for this so-called “dying” industry.

Jenkins offered a few thoughts that concerned me, however. In her excellent blog post, she went into great detail about her fears of being stuck in the social chains and how she hopes that she (and other social media editors) will one day be able to break the chains…and join the Editorial Meetings.

In my opinion, they should never have left the Editorial Meetings.

By day, I’m an Assistant Reporter AND Social Media Coordinator. To me, they go hand in hand. Now wait one minute, I’m not saying EVERY reporter should be a social media coordinator (I do think there should be one person leading the effort and training others in the newsroom) but I do believe every, single reporter in every, single newsroom should be social.

And I’m not just talking about at the water cooler.

How will you incorporate Twitter into your daily life? Maybe you’ll use Buffer (an app that allows you to schedule tweets/Facebook updates from links you like), or Ping.fm, or maybe you’ll use Hootsuite, TweetDeck or another service that lets you tweet on the fly.

However you do it, it’s essential that you first speak with the Social Media Editor/Coordinator at your publication AND then start promoting your own brand, peppering it with commentary, real life activities and, oh yea, work links.