Using LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ for reporting

by Ankita Rao

“Of the social media mullet, Facebook is the party in the back, LinkedIn is the business in the front,” said Sandra Fish, a University of Colorado professor, evoking the notorious hairstyle.

In a Flash Technology panel Fish joined Digital First’s Mandy Jenkins and Breaking News’ Stephanie Clary in outlining the use of social media for research, reporting and getting eyeballs to a story.

LinkedIn, for example, is home to several company job listings, but also networking groups with a steady stream of conversation. Fish urged Jawdesses to give a descriptive version of their CV on the site, including key words and specific interests.

Audience members also chimed in with their own success with LinkedIn, from requesting a coffee date with a potential employer to sharing their resumes before an interview.

While LinkedIn is an intrinsically professional platform, Mandy Jenkins explained

Stepheny Clary - Google
Photo by Nina Zacuto

how Facebook could also be rendered for specific audiences through public pages, privacy settings and the “subscribe” button.

“You can actually direct this to your specific audience,” she said.

Facebook users have the option of setting each post to private, or sharing with the public – a possible method of limiting the avalanche of baby photos and personal status updates on the not-so-close friend.

Jenkins said using lists to categorize friends and coworkers could help streamline Facebook use in order to share information about stories or professional topics. She pointed to Nicolas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, as an example of how to merge social media with journalism.

Stephany Clary tackled Google+, the ubiquitous but often overlooked social media platform. Google+ has useful features like Google Hangouts, where journalists can share videos and documents, broadcast their own comments, or engage readers in an interactive way.

Some examples, available on Clary’s Prezzi version of her lecture, are The Washington Post’s post-debate analysis and The Los Angeles Times’ breaking news broadcasts.

Now that social media has become as much a part of reporting as photos and videos, the rundown on expanding networks to useful reporting tools was especially relevant.