How much is “too much” with social media?

Nikki Burdine is the anchor and producer for the noon and 5 p.m. show at WHAG-NBC25 in Hagerstown, Maryland. She also blogs for RTDNA where she recently posted a description of her experiment with LiveStream during a newscast.

It was very simple, I set up an account, had someone hold their iPhone up during the show, and voila! We were streaming. I teased viewers and friends via Facebook and Twitter, telling them to tune into our behind-the-scenes broadcast of the 5 o’clock news.

The stream was very casual, informal and candid. There were several viewers who tuned in and were able to comment during the show. We started streaming from right before show time, explaining to viewers what we were doing, introducing them to production assistants and just talking casually about what to expect. We streamed throughout the first block of the show, and then commercial breaks, where I interacted with viewers via a chat-like setting on LiveStream. We even had a few random people from different countries!

It was a simple and easy way to let the viewers in on a little piece of the news that they don’t normally get…the long-time weather man who everyone in our market adores, what the studio really looks like, and how it all works.

Burdine went on to say that the station does plan to do it again, but “not too much.”

And that raises the big question: How much IS too much?

Certainly there seems to be nothing wrong with taking viewers behind the scenes of a newscast. And people who spend a lot of time in the “social media space” see absolutely nothing wrong with reporters sharing via Facebook or Twitter details of visits to the Wendy’s drive through or trying to get cat hair off their clothes, but sometimes I wonder how all this changes our notions of journalism?

Is the end result a “personality-driven press” where everyone is vying to win a popularity contest with the audience? Will journalists be known more by their private lives than by their publications?

Perhaps not, but you can follow Nikki Burdine’s day today on Twitter: @NikkiBurdine.


3 comments for “How much is “too much” with social media?

  1. Misty Montano
    February 4, 2010 at 1:31 am

    I don’t believe we’re headed for “presonality-driven press.” However, social networks and live streams do allow us to brand ourselves, whether or not we actually realize it or want it. Branding has always been left to management and the promo team until now. Until the last year I thought of myself as a journalist doing my part to cover the news. Now I see that I’m a journalist doing my part to cover the news who needs to learn and understand marketting because news is a business.

    What I’ve learned personally is: by sharing the newsroom, sharing the news gathering process, and sharing parts of me I’ve shown that journalists are people too trying to do their jobs. I do this not for popularity but because my actions have created trust in me and, therefore; trust in the station. The “media” is so distrusted these days that to gain some trust back is worth any efforts I put into social networks.

  2. Deb Wenger
    February 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Great feedback! Thank you for sharing this perspective.

  3. Amber
    March 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    The general public is often unaware of what goes into journalism and how news is gathered and disseminated as it is. To make ourselves as journalists a bit more vulnerable in this sense, by sharing through social media outlets, there is a way to establish a sense of rapport and bonds that would otherwise not exist. I think you can take it too far, but providing a fair and honest look into what reporters do, for society at large, should never be something we run from.

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