ELLIOTT KEENE

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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