I had a spiffing time last night talking about social media for journalists with the Guild of Health Writers in the (frankly rather elegant) surroundings of The Medical Society of London.
The thing that struck me when talking to people who don’t use Twitter or other social media tools was that it’s the myths that seem to put people off. Myths including:
- You have to be a tech-y gadget freak to make sense of it
- It uses up all your time
- Why would I be interested in what random strangers have for lunch?
None of which is actually true. I am about the most un-techy person you could ever hope to trip over. My 11 year old knows her way around a computer far better than I do. I only started texting, downloading music and moving photos from camera to computer within the last year. I got an iPhone all of three days ago – before that, my phone was the crappiest of the crap. Creating a PowerPoint presentation for last night’s event pretty much stretched my technical abilities as far as they can go.
But what I do have is an open minded attitude. I’m willing to have a go. I don’t mind if I get it wrong, because I’ll learn from that and aim to do better next time. I’ll ask questions even if they might seem a bit daft, because I believe that ultimately the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
And the time thing? Even people who seem to be on Twitter all the time, probably aren’t on there all that much. We notice it much more when people do speak than when they don’t. And anyway, spending time developing your network of contacts and saving your sanity by checking out links to funny pictures of cats is a good thing, right?
And the what you had for lunch tweets? People don’t really do that any more. If they do, and you don’t like it, that’s what the Unfollow button is for. If the people you’re following don’t tickle your fun buds, you’re following the wrong people.
Anyway, I said I’d post the notes up here so check back here from tomorrow, where I’ll be going into more detail about how journalists can use social media to attract work, and not waste all their time in the process.
UPDATE – Start here with the first post on social media for journalists