I was forwarded this article on Poynter a week or so ago by my colleague, Beth Phillips: “Why the New York Times Eliminated its Social Media Editor Position.” The headline definitely caught my attention. I was curious. Why were they eliminating something I had been working for a couple years to make a permanent editor position in my class (which to this day still has not panned out – but that’s a different story altogether)?
As I read the piece though, I bought in more and more to the idea that the position shouldn’t exist. The job of social media should be a duty shared by all staff, not just one or a select handful. You should work to get as much reach as you can by using different individuals, and you need to be personal. I get thinking about the journalism related Twitter and Facebook accounts I follow. The ones I pay closest attention to are the personal ones. I follow closely individual sports columnists and Iowa Hawkeye beat reporters, I pay much less attention to the ‘official’ publication accounts like The Des Moines Register and St. Louis Post-Dispatch as they much less personal.
Not sure how we’re going to work it yet, that’s a job for over break to think about, but I know things are going to change. It will be important to have someone in the room to serve as a trainer and point person on social media, but they shouldn’t be the lone driving force in using social media to promote the student media.