Friday, June 03, 2011

Another Set of Social Media Guidelines

The American Society of News Editors issued guidelines for social media. The top ten read like almost any corporate list which given the current state of traditional newspapering is missing the chance go leap forward.  At the top of the list of counter-intuitive: don't break news on Twitter, break it on the website.

Spoken like an organization who has classically forgotten it's past. Extra, extra, read all about it - newspaper folk deny the future.

So when I get a text message alerting me to Associated Press breaking news, or a tweet teasing me to same - what exactly is breaking news?

If anything, news that is happening in real-time is best conveyed via real-time methods. Is the ASNE saying breaking in on a broadcast with news of the Challenger disaster should wait until 6 o'clock? Or that a tornado is bearing down on a hospital is best on the website?

The point of news gathering and dissemination is to get information into the hands of the public as soon as possible, as accurately as possible and through whatever means reaches the public so that they may use that information to make decisions in the public good.

What platform you use should be meaningless to that primary task.

A couple of the others reveal equal corporatism: 

"Keep internal deliberations confidential" - Right, unless you are a government official or corporate news source, then please, let ASNE members know as much as possible about your organization's internal deliberations.

"Use social media to engage with readers, but professionally" - Does this mean one must wear a tie while posting on Facebook?

I scoff, but several other points are important if not simplistic (assume everything on line will become public - hmm, JournaList, anyone).

Daring to reach out into those Internets, a round table of interesting reactions.

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