The Daily Globe has officially entered the Facebook and Twitter realms. That means anyone out there using either Facebook – which I understand now has more users than the entire U.S. population – or Twitter can receive news this way.
This decision didn’t come without a little thought. This newspaper first established a Facebook presence months ago, and for a while news updates were posted to the Daily Globe’s page – which had built a small yet growing fan base. But after a while, we made what may or may not have been a rash decision – we blocked all company employees from Facebook. Unsurprisingly, there were people who had begun to abuse the privilege of having access to it at work … and were taking the time to upgrade their status, check out friends’ new photo posts or even play FarmVille instead of doing what they were getting paid to do.
Last week, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel about newspapers’ use of social media during the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s annual convention. Also on the panel with me were Sarah Bauer, executive director of the Minnesota News Council; Cy Cords, the "Webmaster" for the St. Cloud Times, and Sam Gett, publisher of the Northfield News. Our moderator was Howie Burke, who is employed by ECM Publishers in the IT department.
The well-attended discussion was informative and ultimately convinced me of something I was already feeling in my gut; we had to be back on Facebook. Sure, maybe some of our employees don’t have a real work-related use for it, but so many people are communicating this way that, for our editorial staff, it’s a must. And one of our advertising reps told me at the MNA event that Facebook is a means in which at least one of her accounts is now communicating, too.
As a newsroom manager, it will be my job to make sure my staff is using Facebook – as well as other social media – in a productive and professional manner. To me, it’s merely a matter of common sense; if you’re at work you should not be updating a status, texting friends on a cell phone, taking personal calls off and on throughout the day, etc.
At the same time, we hope that social media users out there will appreciate our efforts to not only deliver the news in this way, but to interact with our readers and – as a result – better serve them.