A new way of thinking about Facebook

We’re going to talk about Facebook as a multifaceted tool for communicating with audiences — and defining yourself as a journalist — very soon in class. Mashable did a great job pulling together all the issues for journalists on Facebook in this piece, which I’d like you to read as soon as you can. Then think about your Facebook persona, now that you are a working journalist. Need a tweak?

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6 Responses to A new way of thinking about Facebook

  1. My main profile picture was an image of an upside-down American flag with this quote placed over it:

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow. And the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”
    -Abe Lincoln Nov. 21 1864

    I changed my picture yesterday and removed this quote and image from my profile because I understand it conveys a strong political feeling. I don’t want affect my credibility as a reporter by people questioning my patriotism.

    • reedkath says:

      What a great example. It’s tough to navigate these new communication channels sometimes, isn’t it? But your gut feeling was that this was inappropriate now that you’re a reporter. I’m curious to know how that felt to you. Did you feel that you’d given up something important?

      • Yes, I felt compelled to remove it now that I am not just representing myself, but representing a publication. I felt that the quote and image would allow readers to assume that the newspaper followed a particular ideology so I took it down.
        I did feel like I gave up something important. Facebook is for sharing. A lot of my Facebook friends appreciated the image and the statement and were inspired or challenged by it in positive ways. I felt like taking it down was inhibiting my ability to express myself, however it’s not worth risking a negative opinion of me as a reporter or the publication.

  2. I wonder if it might be wise for reporters to have two separate Facebook profiles–one for work as a reporter, and another personal one for close friends. One for our official position, and one for our personal use.

    But at the same time, I’m a firm believer in strong overlap between person and position. Who we are and what we do ought to overlap. I am not suddenly a different person when I am in “reporter mode.” Being a reporter is a part of who I am, just as my personality overflows into who I am as a reporter. As Mallory said, we are representing something more than just ourselves. We are ourselves, but with a responsibility of representation stamped on.

    This is definitely something I want to give more thought to, and I’m curious to see how Facebook impacts journalism in the upcoming years.

  3. Dustin says:

    Mallory – was your FB profile public or private? Whatever it is/was, if it had been the opposite, would that have changed your decision?

  4. trcapp says:

    In my opinion, when you use social media like facebook and twitter, you are representing yourself. You need to make wise decisions.

    As a student/reporter I make sure that every facebook photo, comment, profile, tweet etc. isn’t going to ruin my chances of landing my dream job.

    Overall, be smart about it. You never know who is watching.

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