By Bopha Phorn
The advent of the internet, the arrival of email and the explosion in social media mark three significant advances of the digital age. They have changed the way people communicate globally.
Social media in particular has provided various platforms for journalists to publish their work to millions of potential readers sharing the online world.
However, extending one’s reach across the medium is far from straight forward. Though social media is dynamic and no one recipe for success exists, there are certain approaches that can increase the chances of gaining a wide readership, building trust and boosting your presence as a professional online.
I promote my own stories to build my credibility as a journalist and search out and share other content I believe is interesting and important. As a reporter’s job is to assess information, establishing a feed of engaging stories and information can provide readers a focal point through which to navigate the endless stream of information created every moment online.
For me, this includes regularly sharing news stories from my country, the region and across the world. I also share information on jobs and study opportunities such as scholarships and fellowships.
The medium is also a vital tool for journalists. I use sites such as Facebook and Twitter as a means to source and communicate with potential interview subjects, to make appointments and to discover potentially news worthy topics that are being talked about.
In my country Facebook is the primary social media platform, though I also use Twitter, often to communicate with people outside the country. Most people who follow me on Twitter are foreigners from the same industry or whose work is related to mine.
Being able to build a global network like this is very important for my future career and ambitions of working abroad.
For both Facebook and Twitter, first impressions count. It’s best to have a clear photo and concrete description about yourself to build trust.
Another element of this, for me, is to separate elements of my personal life, professional work and academic assignments, the latter I post on Tumblr, WordPress and Medium.
Lastly, the power to immediately publish to billions of potential readers inherently comes with risks. Whether it’s making a factual error in a story or making a comment that casts you in a bad light, it’s important to always be mindful that what you put online will be immediately out of your control. Even corrections or deletions will not erase information that is cached or saved by another user.
Like all tools, social media can be wielded with precision and expertise or can be swung awkwardly and miss the target.