Yesterday I criticized ASNE’s report on best practices in social media. Today I’m going to take a positive approach, suggesting alternatives. Here are my 10 best practices for social media (written for newsroom leaders; the list would vary for other journalists):
- Smart and frequent conversations among newsroom leaders and their staff members are the best way to guide effective, ethical use of social media.
- Newsroom leaders should be active, conversational examples for their staffs on multiple social platforms. (I have noted before that too many ASNE and APME leaders are not.)
- Newsrooms and journalists should be bold, creative and smart in their use of social media. Be early and aggressive in exploring the possibilities presented by new social tools.
- Daily and weekly planning meetings in newsrooms (if you must have them) should routinely include discussion of how to use social media in gathering news and telling the stories you are planning.
- Give credit and accept responsibility. Correct errors quickly, openly and humbly.
- Journalists on your staff (and you) will make mistakes. Learn from them together. Handle them gently if they were honest mistakes.
- Be the best version of yourself (stolen directly from Mathew Ingram).
- I have not issued a thou-shalt-not yet, and I know editors love those, so here’s one from one of the best, John Robinson: Don’t be stupid.
- Social media are conversations, so invite the community to contribute, which is why I ask you:
- What should #10 (or more; there’s nothing magic about 10) be?
Update: First suggestions for 10 & beyond, from Angie Muhs on Twitter:
I would suggest “Be human” for #10. Also, “Thy tweet stream should not be solely limited to links to your news org’s work.”
I was not the only one to react to the ASNE best practices. Check out these:
- Jack Lail’s Storify curation of the debate
- Jeff Sonderman’s hilarious Twitter reaction
- Jeff Jarvis’ hilarious parody: ASNE’s 1895 guidelines for telephone use (curated by Scott B. Anderson)
- Amy Gahran’s response at the Knight Digital Media Center
- Joy Mayer’s response at the Reynolds Journalism Institute
- Mathew Ingram’s response on GigaOm
- Cory Bergman’s response on lostremote
I was glad that ASNE included copies of lots of newsroom social media policies. I should note that I have written extensively here about some of those policies (too many of which reflect the same fear that I criticized in the ASNE report).