Blog 2: What is social media?

What is Facebook and how to use it on reporting?

Last week, I introduced how to use social media platforms to report in general. Starting this week, I’m going to take a closer look at different platforms.

In this post, I will focus on Facebook, one of the most widely used social media sites in the United States, according to Statista. About 70% of adults said they ever use this platform. The number of adult users on Facebook is much more than most platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter. Due to its popularity, it is important for journalists to know some tips about using Facebook on reporting to get more people engaged.

  • Use the direct message feature

According to a passage written by Natasha Tynes, an award-winning author, the direct message feature is helpful when finding sources. She said people tend to like to chat with you than other journalists if you contact them through a private channel. For example, “Laura Amico from Homicide Watch said that some of the victims’ families that she connects with prefer to talk with her via Facebook Chat instead of over the phone.”

  • Don’t be afraid of joining groups

Joining groups can help journalists find specific groups of people. For instance, if you want to interview some Columbia parents, the most convenient way to find more sources is to join the groups, such as the Columbia Parents Group.

  • Use Search option regularly

“You can see what people are talking about in real time” by searching keywords in the Search option, said Tynes. It is helpful for you if you want to find some story ideas.

  • Broadcast live videos when necessary

Anyone can broadcast live videos on Facebook. Some national news outlets always use this function to connect with the audience more deeply because journalists can get live comments. NPR created a guide training to provide some tips for people who want to broadcast live videos. Here is the video about the different types of live videos they have produced.

  • Prioritize quality over quantity

At first, it is particularly crucial for journalists to keep updated regularly. However, if you don’t find good posts, don’t post bad ones, suggested by Dana Farrington, a digital and social editor at NPR. Here are some examples of my posts on Facebook.

By and large, we have to know the specific functions of Facebook we can make good use of to get people engaged. I hope these tips would be helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have useful tips that you want to share.

Sources I use as references in the blog:

  1. Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018
  2. NPR’s Facebook Live guide
  3. Six tips for journalists on using Facebook for reporting
  4. Five things to do when programming Facebook

Published by larissagao

Senior student majoring in Convergence journalism-multimedia producing at University of Missouri-Columbia; Former General Assignment reporter at Columbia Missourian

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