How journalists track what’s new in social media tools

Social Media ExaminerEvery time you turn around, it seems like there are new social media tools to try out.  From Rebel Mouse to Storyful Multisearch, they just seem to keep coming.  For journalists, it’s important to keep up with what’s going on in the social media space and to do it as efficiently as possible.

At Hearst Television, Judy Stone has the title of executive digital media product manager.  Part of her team’s job is to be sure they’re not missing a social media opportunity.

“We like Mashable, Inside Facebook, and Social Media Examiner. Mashable especially is a dependable resource for news business, technology, social media, etc.,” Stone said.

At Townsquare Media, digital managing editor Lauren Zimmerman agrees on the relevance of Mashable, but has a few more strategies for staying current.

“I also find it helpful to follow the game-changers in social media,” Zimmerman said.  “I follow Mark Zuckerberg and Vadim Lavrusik on Facebook because they often post about changes they’re making to the site. Although the founders and employees of other social media companies aren’t as well-known, if you can manage to find and follow the decision makers, it’s helpful to get a first-hand account of changes.”

Steve Safran is a social media consultant with a long career working in broadcasting and online.  He says he uses social media to monitor social media.

“Five years ago I would have listed the sites I visit in order to keep up on what’s happening in the news industry. Now I have no idea,” said Safran. “What I mean by that is that I visit stories, not sites. Social media points me toward stories I will find interesting. I don’t really care who has the information, as long as they’re credible.”

Stone says that, wherever you get your information, you need to make sure you’re thoughtful about which social media tools or strategies you buy into.

“We know doing our own research and testing is essential before making big changes.  Again, don’t jump at every shiny new social toy or you’ll wear yourself out and spread yourself thin.  When a promising new tool comes along and testing proves its helpfulness, indeed fast adaptation is critical.”