Talking Points for When People Who Don’t Get Social Media as a News Platform

Someone asked me the other day something to the effect of this – what is the point of social media when it comes to news – isn’t CNN just as fast?

It occurred to me that many of us in healthcare communications may face this question from people outside of the communications profession who, as a consequence of being professionally focused elsewhere, may not have a grasp of the how’s and why’s with respect to why social media is important in the overall communications picture.  In other words, there are many people outside of communications who may not have grasped all of the ways social media has changed the way we communicate.

So here are a few talking points to help in the event that, or a similar question, is posed to you.  There is nothing breathtaking here and it represents things I have said in this space previously, but I thought it might be handy to have them in a list – for when you need them.

  1. Not all social media are equal news platforms – some – like Facebook –  are more social platforms where news is spread, while some may perceive that Twitter has evolved as a major news platform.
  2. In any case, social media platforms offer people the ability to get news from personal sources who they trust and from people who are interested in the same or similar things and with whom they share outlooks on many topics.
  3. Social media also allows people to comment and spread news to their own networks – making it more participatory.
  4. Social media allows you to reach an audience who is likely already pre-disposed to be interested in your topic (e.g., people concerned about a specific disease or condition) rather than relying on a general publication that will reach a less enriched audience.
  5. In addition, social media allows instant reporting from almost any venue.  For example, medical meetings are very important for new medical products and the twitter traffic at these meetings increases every year, comprised of doctors, patient advocates, scientists as well as journalists.  As we have seen on the world stage, sometimes social media is the only means by which reporting even can occur – such as in areas of heavy conflict.
  6. Almost every journalist is on Twitter
  7. Social media in general and Twitter in particular allows a reporter to report several times a day instead of filing a single story (micro-reporting).

Feel free to add your own talking points, either yourself, or by leaving a comment!

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