For the journalists of today, we understand that social media platforms have transformed from a friend communication service to an all-encompassing digital life tool. Many journalists are increasing their online presence by posting content on many sites, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram being the main ones. Some interesting research from a 2016 Global Social Journalism Study found that half of journalists said they could not do their work without social media and 68 per cent of journalists use at least three types of social media.
The study examined how journalists are using social media and categorised their findings into five different sections:
- The architects: most of whom are primary online or digital journalists who believe social media has had a positive impact on the industry and can even shape it. This category of journalists use social media as a marketing tool and place equal importance on their social media platforms as the stories themselves.
- The promoters: who believe the most important use for social media is to publish, promote, network and monitor. Sharing links to their stories, creating teaser content and reposting positive feedback about a story is all part of the promoting process and helps shine a light on your hard work and efforts.
- The hunters: who spend two hours or less using social media for work, but use social media to find potential sources of information or contacts for stories.
- The observers: who minimize their visible presence on social and spend most of their limited time on social reading content from other people they follow.
- The sceptics: who spend the least amount of time on social and aren’t convinced of the benefits.
For the social media ‘promoters’, interacting with audiences was ranked as important. It was interesting that a whopping 92 per cent of survey respondents noted that monitoring other media and current events are also important social media activities, proving that anything you publish online can be traced and found.
According to the report, journalists are more active on social media than ever before, with a notable increase in daily activity. Obviously journalists are using social media in varying amounts and for different reasons but it is clear social media is an imperative technological tool for digital journalism.