Social Media Engagement: A Self Reflection

Posted on: May 4, 2012

During the past four months I have experienced Twitter as a fundamental communications tool in today’s online media environment, as a journalist, a blogger, a reader and a member of the local community. Initially I was surprised by the interactivity and immediacy of information diffusion across the platform, particularly with users that I did not know. My blog posts have been tweeted as ‘top stories’ numerous times and an interest in my writing has brought many new followers.


The hash tag is the site’s most resourceful feature, providing streams of searchable content and instant discussions around a certain debate, news event or place. By frequently using the tag #Bournemouth and relevant @mentions, I was able to reach many people through sharing my blog posts and having conversations with them over Twitter – as the examples below demonstrate.



The second blog post I had written with a local angle about a portrait of ‘Gordon the Tramp’ in the National Portrait Prize showed just how powerful Twitter can be for journalists, and potentially citizen journalists too.  A significant amount of ‘Retweets’ within several hours of publication and further sharing over Facebook drew large numbers of readers to my blog, as my following post detailed (https://elliottkeene.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/the-power-of-twitter/). I feel this blog post in particular is important, as I learnt how my observation that ‘everyone is a journalist’ in the digital age proved seemingly correct.

As I continued to blog, I allowed myself to be more creative with my writing, use of images and involvement with Twitter. I attempted to interact with my followers by asking them questions, using key hash tags and directly linking both my posts and online news stories (see below).


I tweeted about stories from national newspapers and other news sites frequently, often through retweeting or linking my followers to stories I came across that were of relevance to my own blog posts. Doing this brings a level of continuity and coherence with Twitter posts, in an effort to not simply post randomly but to engage with Twitter users over a topical subject.

My interaction with followers proved to be insightful as several provoked discussion over the stories I distributed (see below). For a professional journalist, this allows for a two-way communication with their audience and an effective way to source further information from the public. For a citizen journalist or blogger such as myself, it exemplifies the possibilities of online discourse with virtual communities and the potential for more collaborative forms of journalism in the future.




Finally, my proudest moment during my experience as a journalist – getting my published feature in the Bournemouth Rock over a double-page spread seen by the subject of the story and shared across Twitter!



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