Sunday, March 14, 2010

YouTube spreads word of social media's relevance

This week I thought I would share a few YouTube videos that really capture the essence of social media's stronghold on American society.

If you're a social media geek like me, you've probably seen this "Social Media Revolution" video. I love it! My favorite moment is at 3:29: "We no longer search for the news ... the news finds us." This is so important to remember when thinking about innovative ways to bring readers back to your news organization's Web site. We talk so much about flashy photo galleries, captivating blog topics, etc. - but to expect your readers to go looking on their own for those features is unrealistic. These days, you just have to bring it to them (just like we bring papers to their doorsteps), and the easiest and most results-oriented way to do so is to get it up on their Facebook or Twitter feed.

I really believe there are many print journalists who believe that social media is a fad. I've been seeing more and more of these print journalists jump onto the bandwagon, but I'm afraid I don't see the passion for it as often as I would hope. At 3:40, the above video makes a simple but excellent point: Social media isn't a fad; it's a fundamental way in which we communicate. Based on the statistics in this video, it's obvious that journalists need to be a part of this phenomenon - not so much because it's "a fad" or because we need to know what readers are talking about, but because it's a significant communications tool that can truly enhance our work, even in the days when news media is shifting to online.

'Social media = punk rock'
What's really amazing to me is when journalists don't believe in what they see unfold during high-profile breaking news, such as the 2009 events of Michael Jackson's death, the Balloon Boy farce, or more seriously, Iran's Twitter revolution. No matter the level of seriousness of the event, users jump onto social media by the masses in times of breaking news (See: Make most of social media during breaking news), not only to share information in seconds, but to also have a voice in the event. Even before "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene was found, a trending topic of #saveballoonboy was created in minutes on Twitter, and T-shirts that said "Go, Falcon, Go!" had hit the Web within hours. News consumers have the ability, the voice, and the power to make a difference in how we as a society absorb change - let's be the journalists who help shape that voice to be as informed as possible. Take this video, "Social media is the new punk rock," to see what I mean. Rock on.

As much as I push for journalists to really embrace social media as a necessary part of the job, I promise I would never take it this far:

Have a great week!

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