Every industry blog that’s into social media, including this one, loves to tell newsies about the latest and greatest social media craze and How Your Newspaper is Getting Left Behind (!!).
For weeks I’ve been thinking of writing one of these posts on Four Square, as everyone else has, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.
While I have been dreaming up some ways my paper can use geolocation services in regards to marketing, branding, advertising and repurposing news content, I simply cannot bring myself to suggest that newsroom personnel omgjusthavetobedoingthisrightnow. No, just no.
Sure, it’d be great to have reporters go out and leave tips, links and trivia all over town on FourSquare, but I have to consider how much I’m willing to give up for that. I don’t know what it is like at everyone else’s newsroom, but I don’t have extra people waiting around for work to do – and frankly, I’d much rather have an online update from the courthouse by 10 am than a bunch of tips on where to find great public art on Four Square or Gowalla.
We in the social media cheerleader camp need a reality check sometimes. I’m frequently the one saying “We’ll find time, just don’t say no yet”, but as I’ve found myself stretched to run the news site and tweet and send email alerts and monitor traffic and and and – I know we can’t say yes to everything anymore. More importantly, we new media snobs shouldn’t feel as if we’re dinosaurs because we aren’t here, there and everywhere on every social network.
Case in point: Right after Google Buzz launched, Old Media New Tricks (who I love, by the way) was on the case, telling us how papers should get their Buzz profiles set up and hop to the status updates. While I don’t blame them for suggesting it (they do need to get blog readers after all) I had to question it. Not every newsroom can afford to have a staffer who can send status updates to a myriad of services all day. With the still-limited spread of Buzz and widespread popularity of Twitter, why divert our already-stretched resources there? It simply fueled the notion we social media types tend to have that says, “Well, this is out there and someday you’re going to look dumb if you weren’t doing it a long time ago.”
I recently attended a presentation by some incredibly talented social media gurus in my local network and one part of their message especially rang out loud and clear to this harried soul: Pick a few social media practices that work for you and do them well.
We as an industry should take that to heart.
Every newsroom should have a goal in mind for their social media use – and then should pick and choose the right tools to best go after that goal without sacrificing what’s important. Consider how seamlessly a social media practice will fit into the newsroom’s workload – and consider if a new idea is worth taking a staff member away from this task or that task (if that’s the case).
It isn’t always a good investment of your limited resources to chase every social media rainbow that comes along – picking just a few is more than OK.