Memo: Social Networking Sites Are Not Appropriate

A Gannett editor issued a memo to the paper's staff that stated that Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites are "not appropriate" and "not a part of the job." The editor admits, "Occasionally it will be necessary for staff members to visit these sites for work purposes." This editor's view on social networking tools seems to conflict with a generally positive reaction to Twitter and Facebook.

Gawker's ValleyWag blog points out that USA Today is one of numerous Gannett-owned papers that encourages their staff to spend more time to use these tools. The blog entry quotes a report that said, "Facebook is a modern day Rolodex." Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter really has potential to expand a potential pool of sources. I have seen peers request for sources for articles on Facebook, and they have gotten fairly quick responses. I have also heard success stories with Twitter. Should an editor really restrict the amount of time spent on tools that may help generate sources and reveal major news scoops?


ELT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Jaffe said...

Interesting post. It seems ridiculous that a newspaper would do this. I understand that they don't want their reporters and editors photographed and tagged in compromising situations, or that opinions on the social networking sites could show a bias in the paper, but if there are restrictions on what they can post, it seems a bit more fair than ruling them as inappropriate as a whole.

It is a great tool for reaching potential sources, as I know many of my friends (and sometimes sources) are quicker to respond on Facebook than with voice messages, or even respond on Facebook saying they received a voice message.