The phrase “social media” had barely been coined, let alone popularized, when Friendster hit the scene in 2002. The first big social network was ground breaking … until it wasn’t. Now, as the once great site hangs on for life, it’s unplugging the relics of its early life, deleting the memories of its original user base as it reimagines itself and role online.
For years the site has been fighting a — let’s admit it, losing — battle, first to MySpace, then to Facebook, to Twitter, to Flickr, to YouTube, to FourSquare, to ? … well there’s the rub. There are too many social networks already here, as well as those fading and just emerging. At their core they all do the same thing: Connect people to each other’s ideas and allow them to share their personal experiences and interests. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Sort of like what journalists strive to do each day by connecting to readers/viewers/listeners with their stories, pictures and videos? Turns out, journalists can learn from social networks, and not just pop culture or breaking news, but also broader lessons about how to do their job. So knowing that all good things have an expiration date, at least on the Internet, here’s what journalists should realize and remember as they tiptoe through social networking topics. Read more