Social media has only recently (within the past 5 years) become a big deal in the TV newsroom. No matter what you’re doing, you are always susceptible to seeing a hashtag for an upcoming show or a tweet for a new product. Well recently, the local news stations have been getting involved in the social media game as well. Recently, I interviewed a former sports anchor and since I don’t want to release his real identity, I will call him Richard.
Me: So when did you start working in television?
Richard: I started in 1996 when I was coming right out of college.
Me: Was there any kind of “social media” when you first started?
Richard: Not so much. I mean as far as updating people on the web, we basically just had our website. We could update people but it wasn’t as much of a convenience and it wasn’t as quick as the type of social media that we have today.
Me: What was the process to post something on the site?
Richard: It wasn’t an easy process! Actually, I myself couldn’t do it. Back in that time, we actually had 3 or 4 full time people just to update the website. It’s crazy because now, we have one social media content producer and one website manager. So, in reality, we have 1 person doing more than the 4 people did back then. There was very little pictures as there are today. Most of what we had back in ’93 was text based and very simple.
Me: Working in the new media is way different today than; is there any guidance on what you should or shouldn’t post on your platforms?
Richard: Well I never really post anything obscene or anything like that but the restrictions to an anchor are pretty tight. You would think that a persons twitter page is their own but when you sign your contract, your twitter page is now really the business’s too. My station like to see us post family oriented pictures or videos or post something that relates to our job. I try to stay away from lengthy conversations with a friend on a picture or something. If I need to reply to them more than two or three times than I Personal or direct message them. There’s just to many people out there that could put myself or my friend in the public eye. I get that I am a quote unquote public figure but it sure would be nice to post something and not have to worry about who sees it. Social media has become a one way road with people though. You always see people getting fired or written up for posting something that they shouldn’t have but you never really see someone get promoted for posting something good, I think that’s why you see a lot of the “public figures” not posting as much as they should. They might just want to stay in the clear.
As Richard said, if theres anything you can learn from social media, it’s always important to remember that you need to be smart about what you’re posting. You never know who might get your URL and it’s important to keep that in mind.