Journalist or Social Media Stalker?

Today in lecture, we discussed the topic of social media – how to make our accounts professional, the impact social media has on our journalistic presence and how to use social media to our advantage as reporters.

It really surprised me how easy it is to find people and search for things via social media. And absolutely nothing is hidden from the public eye; Once you put something out there, it’s available forever. While I have always been taught to be careful what I put on my various social media profiles, that it would come back to bite me later, it wasn’t until today that I realized how big of an impact social media actually has.

We heard a story today about how a previous Missourian reporter was refused an interview solely because she had a social media account that the source found to be inappropriate and unprofessional. I had always thought of social media as being more geared toward a journalist’s audience, but I had never considered that a source would use it to find out more about the journalist who would be interviewing them, let alone deny access because of it. This was definitely eye-opening, and it made me want to go back and comb through my social media accounts to make sure that they were appealing and journalistically appropriate. So, that’s exactly what I did!

Another part of this lecture concerning social media was a social media peer review of one of my fellow classmates. In other words, we are supposed to spend the next week looking through and social media stalking our partner for this assignment, picking apart the various positive and negative aspects of each account. While this is creepy on so many levels, I’m kind of looking forward to using my investigative journalism skills to do a little bit of undercover work!

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