With today’s technology driven culture, status updates on Facebook serve as the town criers of the past by indicating when something big and exciting is happening.
How can Facebook be beneficial to journalists? By generating a large base of “friends”, a crafty journalist can network with people locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally. Even if a journalist does not actively network, they can still use a search feature to find information. One can do this by a simple Google search, or even on the Facebook home page. The article “How to Use Facebook Pages for Business” by Terrance Ward explains that “pages may be viewed by surfers that do not have accounts with Facebook.” This can lead to the contacts who created such pages and jumpstart feature stories.
Should a journalist use Facebook in the same manner their “friends” use Facebook? Journalists need to consider their own credibility and what kinds hullabaloo their posts may create. Andy Schotz’s article, “Facebook Blurs Lines of Friendship” in “The Quill” magazine says, “I cringe at calling sources “friends,” even if it’s an applied label rather than a heartfelt one. I don’t like opening my off-duty thoughts to people I know professionally.” Thus, a journalist should be careful what they post. If an account is meant for networking, it needs to stay professional.