Alison Garwood Jones

Don’t act above social

July 22, 2014

Social media is offensive to a lot of intelligent people. Or rather, it’s offensive to people who need you to know they’re intelligent.

I think that’s part of the reason The New York Times wasn’t using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn like they could have or should have to distribute their content. Still, they’re aware of their missteps and are working with shrinks to turn things around (see: New York Times Innovation Report, 2014).

As all newspapers retire their news trucks, street boxes and home delivery teams, their greatest reach will be across social avenues. When done properly, social doesn’t lead with substantive reporting, it leads with dessert. For good writers covering important subjects, that’s a hard pill to swallow. They don’t want to dumb down their work or trivialize their subjects. But writers are learning that they don’t have to; they only have to sex up their calls to action on social to lead people back to their websites. It’s a small price to pay in service of much more important end goal.

A deep understanding of the mechanics of social teaches us that if you want to be read, if you want to educate people, and if you want to change the world, you need to respond to the quirky demands of the medium.

Sometimes that means using sugar and empty carbs to lure people into eating meat.



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