(Originally posted on May 13, 2011)
ASNE issued its own version of social media guidelines today, and though much of it is standard stuff, one part has already created some debate: Rule No. 4, “Break news on your website, not on Twitter.” This does NOT mean (as the full guidelines eventually explain) that you should not use Twitter (or Facebook, or Digg, or whatever has proven a good vehicle for you) to publicize breaking news. What it means is that if you have solid, factual reporting of something newsworthy, put it on your website, and WHEN YOU TWEET IT include a link pointing back to your site. In other words, do not put your news only and exclusively into your social media stream. As Media General Digital Media’s Alex Marcelewski explains, social media are a proven way to help drive traffic to your site:
“We have seen that breaking news traffic in significant numbers have come to use from those two networks (Facebook and Twitter), especially at work hours and weekends.
“To rely just on just the website to break news assumes people are actually checking the site throughout the day for breaking news. In the mobile world of today, that is fading.
“Journalists need to break news where the audience is. Yes they should not post non-solid info to anywhere, but when you have a confirmed incident/story and all you have are two sentences, then those two sentence would be posted to web and then to social media with the link back to the site (where the updates occur on the article).”