Monday, November 8, 2010

Three Ways Social Media Has Changed Media Relations & Journalism -- Tips from the "Using PR and Social Media" Panel, Part III

For those following the tips from the "Using PR and Social Media to Generate Buzz for Your Startup," sponsored by New England Venture Network (and co-sponsored by Birnbach Communications), today's report looks at how social media has been impacting PR and journalism.

Not surprisingly, the panelists -- blogger Paul Gillin, Xconomy's Greg Huang, BBJ/Mass High Tech's Galen Moore, and's Dan Primack -- said their jobs and those of their colleagues have changed significantly.
  1. Access to information has changed. A decade ago, reporters would check for a company's website. Now, they're also checking Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms and tools. While companies don't need reporters as much as they once did -- because social media provides another, faster way to communicate externally -- the same may be true for traditional sources. Reporters can find out a lot by monitoring what people are saying, posting, tweeting via social media. Yet because that information can be so fragmented, good PR people and sources still play a role.
  2. Reporters and bloggers have more ways to connect to sources. They no longer have to count on running into people at a trade show. They can follow them on Twitter. While in some ways, the way reporters and sources connect can be more structured than 20 years ago, the panelists agreed that the importance of personal relationships and trust has not changed. In terms of social media platforms, Primack noted that you can more easily start relationships via Twitter than you can on Facebook. (He also noted, as did the other panelists, that he doesn't know many people who actually use services like Foursquare, much less use located-based sites to find sources.)

  3. Reporters have new ways to communicate. Social media creates more questions and requires more decisions about what to do with information. This is true for companies as well as journalists. But journalists need to decide: do I tweet about the news? Do I blog about it? Do I write for a traditional print publication? There are positives and negatives for each different way to communicate. Primack, for example, said he might tweet about an article that he will be posting soon just so he can be the first to break news.
No doubt that social media has had more impact on PR and journalism. If there are other ways you think are significant, please let me know.

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