Tech Etiquette: the Dos and Don’ts of Online Reporting

Journalists on Twitter can reap major benefits from the service, but should also beware of pitfalls. (Photo Credit: AP)

Journalists on Twitter can reap major benefits from the service, but should also beware of pitfalls. (Photo Credit: AP)

The online world of social media is something of a mine field. With an ever-shrinking sense of privacy and ever-growing need for connecting via the World Wide Web, knowing what benefits or hinders an online reputation can make or break your personal brand.

Alexandra Chang — a former technology writer for Wired magazine in San Francisco and current freelancer in Ithaca, New York — recently shared her online wisdom with journalism students of Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications. Here are some of her recommendations for behaviors to actively engage in, as well as those that should best be avoided:

  1. Be personal in professional areas. Content reflects how you want to be perceived.
  2. Create lists of reporters within your beat and try to engage with them in a thoughtful way.
  3. If you’re searching for sources on LinkedIn, opt for the anonymous setting. Users can see who views their profile.
  4. Use Twitter in a genuine way, even though it’s not the most genuine platform.
  5. The Internet is often a less than ideal place for civility. If you get heatedly attacked on Twitter or anywhere else, the best policy is to simply ignore.
  6. Create a brand for yourself through tone and how you present content. Social media is not just there for people to follow you professionally, but also to get to know you.
  7. Have a presence on Vine and other similar platforms, but remain conscious of the fact that they are still used more primarily for comedy than news at the moment.

Some other interesting tools that were revealed include Twiangulate.com (a website that allows you to find new people that follow several accounts related to your beat or interests), Qwitter.com (a site that tracks who unfollows you on Twitter), and Paper (the latest iPhone app from Facebook that offers users a “newsier” newsfeed).

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