Many of us who are in the public relations business have seen this coming, but it became ever so clear in the past 30 days: social media has become essential to the news business.
With the death of Pop Icon Michael Jackson, the protests in Iran, and Sarah Palin’s surprise resignation, social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook have played a key role in disseminating information.
Sure, traditional news outlets have been using MySpace and Facebook for some time to grab photos and even find sources to enhance their news stories. But now social media is PART of the news.
For example, when the death of Jackson was announced, I even saw sportscasters on major TV networks turning to Twitter to get quotes and reaction from sports stars about the entertainer’s death.
I’m not advocating that you should drop all the other public relations and publicity tactics you are doing and focus solely on social media to get your message out to journalists. That would actually be a bad thing to do. Never put all your eggs into one basket.
However, if you want to create and maintain your own media presence, you need to stop thinking social media is just ‘kids’ stuff’ and get on board, before it’s too late.
It’s also a reminder that you never know who’s going to see what you are posting on your social networking sites. If you want to be a news source, make sure that you are proud about what you write.