Publishing stories is not enough anymore. With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter consuming the lives and souls of others, journalists who publish work online have to be reporters and promoters at the same time. The quality of your work still remains the most important factor of journalism, but how many page views and likes your story earns is now something a reporter keeps in the back of his mind.
In this class, I was encouraged to put focus on the social media presence of my assignments and blog posts. It was an interesting experience because I never had to put so much effort on the advertising of my stories before, because that’s what the whole experience felt like: selling my stories to friends on Facebook and faceless followers on Twitter. I had to create two attractive headlines each time I wrote a story: one for my actual story and another for the post on a social media site.
When I complete a big story, I whore my story out like nobody’s business. Share it on Facebook, post it on Twitter, tell my friends about it, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, my stories do no attract many new followers. The most I earn for sharing my work is maybe a few likes on Facebook and favorites on Twitter from my classmates. Granted, I appreciate every like and share that I get, but it’s somewhat disappointing.
I think the problem is that I need to focus on promoting myself more on social media. Tell followers that I’m working on a “big story” and tease it out over time. I need to choose an interesting topic that will garner attention. Take pictures of stuff involving the development of my story and share it to keep interest going. When I finally finish and post the story online, my followers will have heard about it enough to actually read and share the story. It’s like promoting a fight or a movie, slowly teasing out small details until you roll out the red carpet for the main event to be showcased on. Basically, social media can help me turn the development of a story into an anticipated event to look forward to.