Reuters Editor Discusses Social Media Etiquette For Professionals

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Photo: @elizadushku

Although social media has been playing an integral role in the professional world for a while now, proper protocol for specific situations can still be confusing.That’s true especially if you’re representing a company.

For example, if you accidentally tweeted something out, do you delete it, or send out a second tweet to correct the first one?

Anthony De Rosa, social media editor for Reuters, candidly answered questions from readers on the popular “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit about social media etiquette and the future role of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Reddit for professionals.

We’ve selected some of the best questions and answers, edited only for clarity.

Q: How do you handle personal opinion on Twitter? Is there a line you have to be aware of as someone representing Reuters or any organisation?

A: I'm opinionated on Twitter. You know where I stand. I think I owe it to people to be transparent. Journalists are people, they're not robots.

Knowing my opinion helps understand where I am coming from. I think disclosure is important for journalists. They shouldn't hide who they are and what they stand for.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: What are your thoughts on the long-term future of Google+?

Q: You just sent a breaking news tweet that, minutes later, turned out to be incorrect. What do you do?

A: Only delete if it is going to put someone's life in danger; otherwise send a follow up tweet with a correction.

I'm hoping at some point Twitter addresses this issue. There should be a way to alert people that a Tweet has been corrected.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: How do you deal with being constantly connected and in the loop with balancing your own personal time? Are you anxious about missing things?

A: I make sure I unplug regularly. When I am out and around other people, I don't fiddle with my phone, though this seems to be really prevalent these days with just about everyone and it sucks. I try to stay off the grid on the weekends unless there's some major news I need to cover, same goes for evenings.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: How much do you think Reddit now influences top news stories in comparison with other social media sites?

A: Reddit is extremely influential. The way that Reddit has stayed relevant and become such a great beacon for news is partially the strict filtering and because of the community it has built.

The community does an amazing job self-managing what's worthy of attention. I don't know that it's something you can easily duplicate. There's some kind of strange secret sauce that Alexis developed. If the President of the United States is coming here to answer questions, you're doing something right.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: To what extent do you use, Twitter, Facebook and Google+?

A: I still use the old Tweetdeck (0.38.1) and really dislike the new one with a passion. I use lists and am still frustrated with Twitter limiting how many lists you can build on one account.

I don't really get much news value out of Facebook or G+, they're not realtime enough, I can't really organise them as well as Twitter. Facebook can be good for finding some long form reads and for contacting people, researching. G+ really doesn't do anything for me at the moment.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: What direction would you like to see social media take in regards to journalists? Are there any specific features that you've been dying to get your hands on?

A: Better tools for finding geolocated media (photos, videos), though I think Geofeedia is pretty nice for this right now. I'd like to see Twitter and Facebook build better search tools. I'd like Twitter to lift the List limit.

I think we're going to see things like UStream and other live streaming play a bigger role in reporting. I think someone like Tim Pool has been a pioneer in this space. I would like to see more reporters use it and do more instantaneous on-the-ground reporting without a camera crew and producer.

I think I'd like to see us stop talking so much about the future of news and just do it. It might be messy at times, you'll screw up, but we're too precious about it right now.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: What is something that you wish you had been told about social media at the beginning that you had to learn the hard way?

A: Verification is essential. Check before you tweet.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

Q: Because platforms like Twitter have given a voice to on-the-ground reports from people who aren't professional journalists, how has your role as an editor changed?

A: It's made my job a whole lot more interesting and valuable. I rely on those people for information when we don't have our own folks on the ground.

I obviously need to verify they are who they say they are and corroborate that information using good old-fashioned journalism, but having access to and making sense of these reports is one of the things I love most about my job.

Questions and answers are from Reddit.

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