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Tweeting your message

By Suzanne Spurgeon  August 6, 2012

Tweeting is a great way for a broadcast journalist to connect with the TV audience. But are there rules, or is the journalist free to write anything that comes to his mind? Media outlets across the country are grappling with this. Management encourages employees to use this tool to help drive traffic to its news programming. But, too often, tweets are becoming an embarrassment.

I just read that CNN's Anderson Cooper responded to a critical tweet by calling the writer, an "idiot". The dispute is over the speed at which CNN sent troops to Milwaukee to cover the temple shooting. Apparently, not fast enough for the "idiot".
Journalists are suppose to be wordsmiths who communicate without resorting to name-calling. Anderson can and should do better. Breaking news is the network's bread and butter, and I'm sure it wasted no time reacting to this horrific event. Not everyone will agree, and that's OK. No amount of name calling will change opinions. Anderson fans may eat it up when he doesn't hold back. I, for one, just don't think it serves the network or the audience, well.

This modern age quandary isn't unique to journalism.  Every business needs to figure out how use Twitter and other social networking sites effectively.  It shouldn't be just a venue to blow off steam.  Set a policy for employees and make sure they know what is expected of them. I often work with clients who don't know what their firm's policy is or the company doesn't even have one. 


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