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Why Twitter is Better for Journalists than Facebook

Last week, Facebook launched the “Journalists on Facebook” page to entice journalists to “reach their audience directly” and access over 500 million users. Despite the over 35,000 people who have “liked” the page, Twitter is still the superior vehicle for news gathering and article promotion – and it will always be, if the core of both networks remains the same.

Facebook might have more members than Twitter (alright, many more), but Twitter makes it easier to reach into its network.

Consider how Facebook would work if you, as a journalist, wanted to promote a story you’d just published. You would have to post it to either your personal profile, a page like the one Facebook created for journalists, or your organization’s page. And once posted, the story would have to be “liked” multiple times before appearing in the majority of users’ home feeds. And those users would have to have already “liked” one of the pages you posted to, or be your friend.

Next, consider Twitter. You write a single tweet and send it from your personal account or your organization’s account. In order to see your tweet, users just need to be following you or your organization. And Twitter has a simpler method of spreading information – the retweet. Unlike “likes”, a retweet is a method whereby your readers can indicate that they did indeed like your article and want to share it – but a retweet is instantly spread to that particular user’s many followers. A “like” on the other hand only increases the chances the post will be seen.

Journalists using Twitter can follow potential news sources without requiring a friendship approval like Facebook does, which means Twitter’s network – while not as large overall as Facebook’s – is much more open. This is ideal for journalists who seek to leverage their networks to either find or promote stories, as they have access to more points of contact with fewer barriers.

And while some might argue that Facebook offers richer content, such as polls, embedded images and the like, Twitter’s 140-character simplicity trumps all of the multimedia bells and whistles – at least for now. In a world of increasing information overload, journalists on Twitter have a more level playing field and won’t inundate readers with overwhelming extras.

What do you think? Is Facebook or Twitter better for journalists?

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