By Jimin Kim
Social media is a magic crystal ball.
Having a comprehensive social media presence allows me to stay better connected to my audience, professionals and peers. As a web editor, understanding the interests and trends of my generation will be crucial in order to build a strong following for whatever company or brand I am a part of. For instance, if I was the web editor of the UFC, I should be in touch with the 18 to 35-year-old market that makes up most of my audience. Keeping up with fans gossiping about dream match-ups and where they would like to see the UFC hold a show next are some ways in which I can meet fans’ interests.
Also, by following my classmates, I am able to be in the loop regarding any topics of interest to my peers. Relevancy is key and I can see which posts have been retweeted or favorited frequently. So, I can tweet something that adds to a trending topic and tag my friends in the post. Twitter serves as another form of communication between me and my friends.
Furthermore, Twitter allows you to learn from professional role models. As someone interested in sports journalism, particularly combat sports, I am a huge fan of Max Kellerman, the color commentator for HBO Boxing and one of the hosts of ESPN’s SportsNation. By following him on Twitter, I noticed that he diligently interacts with fans and fighters, retweets interesting posts and most importantly, has a sense of humor. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but still maintains a level of professionalism.
— Max Kellerman (@Max_Kellerman) February 5, 2015
Also, having a rich body of news to draw from gives me the opportunity to share interesting articles and thus, evaluate audience feedback. For instance, I am currently the Web Editor at the Alan Alda Center and regularly put up social media posts regarding the center. The center teaches communication skills to scientists to help them make their work interesting and understandable to the public. I realized that although the center has a popular Facebook presence, most of its audiences are older than me and my friends.
Thus, whenever I find an interesting story on the center, I share it through my personal Facebook to see how many people close to my age are interested by it. I realized that articles that do the best are the ones that aren’t strictly about what the Alda Center does, but more about the general topic of communication. For instance, an interview Bloomberg.com did with Alan Alda on the psychology of what makes people laugh attracted the most hits from my friends.
So, through Twitter, Facebook and Feedly, I am able to have my finger on the pulse of the news and more importantly, the people. I can learn how journalists I admire utilize social media. I can keep in touch with my colleagues and learn from audience feedback to push the web presence of a brand that I’ve started or a publication that I’m working for. Social media is a knowledge gateway.