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The Conundrum of Social Media Minders
By: Christine Geraci
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When one thinks about the ingredients that go into good social media strategy, it's usually the tangibles that come to mind: Well thought-out content, sound policies, consistent voice. But there's another ingredient to add to the list — an ingredient that's often left out: Trust.

In my humble opinion, you absolutely need to trust your employees in order to create a good social business. This often requires major shifts in culture, in attitude, in philosophy. 

But what about when your business is to report news objectively?

Here's an interesting conundrum: Jodi Ruderon, a reporter for the New York Times, has been equipped with a "social media minder," essentially an editor for her every tweet and Facebook post. Why? Because in her fairly new gig the Jerusalem Bureau Chief, she's fired off a number of offending posts on social media that have landed her, and her newspaper, in hot water. And now, she has welcomed the opportunity to work with someone at the Times who essentially vets her professional social media persona, making sure she's choosing the right words and maintaining a sense of objectivity in her reporting. 

I get the sense the Times means well by doing this. The newspaper wants its bureau chief to be taken seriously in an area of the world where political and cultural sensitivity is basically set at DEFCON 1.

At the same time, I see where Erik Wemple of the Washington Post is coming from when he says, "social media participation resists chaperoning.Posting to Twitter and Facebook is a one-on-one pursuit between journalist/commentator and technology. Throw in a layer of mediation, and it no longer smells or feels like a tweet or a Facebook posting."

Which would you trust more? A reporter who remains unfiltered on social media, but jeopardizes the objectivity of his or her reporting...or a reporter whose presence on social media is sifted through an editor?

I'm on the fence. Social media has changed the journalism game in so many ways. I come from an era when any deviation from objectivity lost you credibility. These days, it's seemingly considered suspect if a journalist DOESN'T share personal opinions via social media. But to edit those opinions? Where's the credibility now?

What are your thoughts?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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