From the Anchor Chair: Look Before You Tweet

Here’s my latest blog for RTDNA:

From the Anchor Chair: Look Before You Tweet:

By Nikki Burdine, Anchor, WHAG-NBC25 / @nikkiburdine

The http://www.rtdna.org/pages/convention-events.php renewed my sense of how important social media and online content is, in more ways than one.

Prior to the convention I was a huge advocate for Twitter and other social media. I was all about it. I found so many benefits from tweeting, connecting with other people online and even promoting my station and our stories online. But in the midst of my 7,000+ tweets, I got a email from our corporate HQ warning us to be careful what we tweet, Facebook, etc. It wasn’t a memo to encourage us to be more active online, it was a memo to caution us.

At first I was concerned the note would deter other reporters from using social media. I was even concerned it would make my bosses question my “tweeting” from the news desk and at work. It was also frustrating to be encouraged as a journalist to become familiar with social media and use it, a lot, with the caveat of potentially being penalized for doing so.

And are we trained as journalists on how to use these tools? Not specifically. But if you think back, a few of our basic journalism school classes are pretty applicable to modern day technology. (And the RTDNA social media guidelines are a GREAT reference to use if you are stuck with a question.)

It is important to tweet and spread the “good word” online via social media. But it’s also important to be aware that what you tweet or post on Facebook is out there.It’s out there just as much as a report that airs on the 6 o’clock news.

Tweeting facts, not opinions, making sure all tweets are factually correct and, of course, spelling and grammar. Like it or not, we are all judged everyday. Whether it’s on-air or on Twitter, our comments and posts are read, judged and influencing other people. As journalists, we need to make sure we use the same integrity in our Tweets and Facebook posts as we do with our packages and VO/SOTs.

So tweet away, journos…But proceed with caution. It could come back to haunt you.

Thanks to that special session at RTDNA@NAB for restoring my faith in the importance of social media. And also to the head honchos at corporate for bringing to my attention how much of an effect I actually do have on the world. It turns out, the big guys at corporate do know what they’re talking about.

Nikki Burdine is the anchor and producer for the noon and 5 p.m. show at WHAG-NBC25 in Hagerstown, Maryland. Nikki is a southern belle, hailing from East Tennessee, who has a passion for the news and social media.

She writes a bi-monthly blog for RTDNA. Follow her on Twitter: @NikkiBurdine



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