The cost of social media

The most popular social media sites — YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — are free, aren’t they?  Well, maybe, says social media guru Jeff Cutler.

“Social media are definitely a time suck,” says Cutler. “They are shiny and fun and they can waste your time.”

But journalists need these tools because they let you be “where your stories are being discussed,” and they “extend the reach of your traditional communication” says Cutler.

Cutler also warns of getting too caught up in your own social networks. He has what he calls the “Joe Francis Rule.”

“Joe Francis is the guy who created the Girls Gone Wild DVDs,” Cutler says. “His productions are not created for young women to enjoy, they are created for the exact opposite audience than those who appear in his films.”

Cutler’s point?

“Don’t produce content just for the small percentage of the audience that participates in your social media circle. Create content for the biggest, broadest audience you can.”

Speaking at the Journalism Interactive conference, Cutler also shared a few of his favorite tools for working with social media:

  • Addict-o-matic — allows you to instantly create a page with the latest social media buzz on any topic.
  • Muuter — allows you to hide the tweets of people making too much “noise” on Twitter.
  • KnowEm — allows you to “own” your name in social media.