With their unique combination of gossipy extroversion and narcissistic self-absorption, journalists are basically ideal professional social media users. A new survey from the Indiana University School of Journalism confirms that journos are using social media for all kinds of things including -- wait for it -- telling everyone about themselves, specifically how smart and interesting they are.
The report, titled “The American Journalist in the Digital Age, is based on a survey of 1,080 journalists. No surprise, fully 80.3% of respondents said they use social media to “promote myself and my work,” followed by 69.2% who said it allows them to engage more with the audience. On the back end, 62% said it enables faster reporting, and 48.9% said it allows them to “communicate better with relevant people.”
Rather smaller proportions said social media “enhanced my credibility” (29.7%), allowed them to cover more news (28.8%), and “improved my productivity” (25%), and just 6% said it “decreased my workload.”
In terms of specific uses, 78.5% of journalists surveyed said they regularly use social media to check for breaking news while 73.1% checked up on what competitors are doing; 59.8% to find ideas for stories; 54.1% to find sources; 46.5% to monitor discussions about their own field; 44.4% to follow someone in the same field; 36.2% to post comments on work-related social media; and 32% to reply to comments. Just 24.7% used it to verify information, and a mere 20% use it actually interview sources.
Turning to types of social media used, 53.8% of journos said they regularly use microblogs like Twitter -- making this far and away the most popular category. Meanwhile 23.6% said they visit blogs by other journalists, 22.2% use crowd-sourcing sites like Wikipedia, and 20.2% use audio-visual social sites like YouTube. Interestingly just 10.6% use professional social media like LinkedIn, meaning for all their self-promoting tendencies, most of their professional networking is apparently done elsewhere.