If you’re into following celebrities on social media, you may have noticed Martha Stewart’s little public tirade last week on Twitter.
It seems Martha smashed her iPad and gave Apple a good tongue-lashing, in front of her three million-ish followers, for not having picked it up for repair. This was one day after the wreck occurred.
Next time something goes wrong in my house, or with my work equipment, I’m going to tweet about it. For example, we had a water heater problem recently. I called our HVAC guys, and they showed up within the hour, bless them. If I had tweeted about it, would they have shown up in five minutes?
Ha! More likely, they would have shown up in five years, and who could blame them?
I noticed a news item on the Martha tweets because the use of social media was a big topic at our editorial staff conference last week.
The finer points of how to use it, and just as importantly how not to, generated some interesting debate among the WP’s journalists.
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn offer journalists several new options for getting stories out quickly and gathering information and contacts.
Social media is increasingly being used in rural Canada, so it gives us more opportunities to connect with you, our audience.
This all seems fairly self-evident. Where things could get a bit murkier is when the personal mixes with the professional.
For example, should a journalist publicly discuss his or her household problems? Political leanings? Crazy party habits?
I don’t know if Martha can muddy her reputation any more than she already has, but for those of us who are increasingly wading into the online communication world, there’s still time to behave sanely.
It’s important to take into consideration that people have widely differing comfort levels with exposing their personal lives.
Some folk are very private; others, like our Ed White, are quite open about, for instance, family life. It’s really nice to attach some personality to the face and the name.
Either way, the main thing is that we apply journalistic ethics and professionalism to social media, just as we do in print and on our website. I’m thinking that would be good advice for Martha, too.