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What Are Basic Social Media Skills Journalists Need?

By now the consensus is that most journalists should “know how to use social media” in their day-to-day jobs.

But what does that really mean?

Here’s a short list of skills that I believe should be part of the basic social media skill set for a journalist today:

Live Tweeting/Live Blogging

It’s not much different from dictation people are taught in journalism school. The only difference is that it’s published in real time.

Knowing What Stories Get Good Traction On Social Media Sites

Not every story you write, shoot or take video for, will translate well on social media sites. But there’s a skill to knowing an online community, and having a sense of what will resonate with that audience on that platform, and what is less likely to have an impact.

Making Twitter Lists Work For You

Twitter’s List feature is one of the more undervalued features that Twitter offers its users. For journalists, it can be a very valuable tool for segmenting information, sources, and more, by topic or even by beat. If you would like to be discreet about it, you can add someone to a private list without having to “follow” them.

The Value of Facebook Fan Pages For Journalists

Not everyone should have Facebook Fan Page. For journalists, it could be a great way to give readers value-added in addition to what they get from reading your updates in the newspaper or on its website. A Fan Page gives you a lot more space to talk about things that might not be newspaper or article-worthy, but would be of interest to those who follow your beat, or have a vested interest in staying on top of the things you cover.

I’m sure I’ve missed some here. If there are any basic social media skills that you think journalist should have, please share them in the comments below.

Photo credit: thivierr/Flickr

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