Column – Tweeting all the way to a job in age of Google journalism

Zac Estrada and Zac Estrada

There’s no point in resisting. Still, I will go in kicking and screaming.

After attending the Associated Collegiate Press conference in Austinlast month, I realized a career in journalism requires embracing social networking.

I’ve had a Facebook account for three years, but don’t spend every waking hour updating my status and uploading photos.

This has all changed after a session with TV critic and Stetson University instructor Andy Dehnart. Between listing the different ways to tweet, blog and facebook, Dehnart advocated the use of all of these technologies, saying that if a writer, photographer or journalist wants more readership and publicity, we have to be on top of our tweets.

I’ve resisted the urge to tweet for almost a year now, because I really don’t see why anyone would want to know what I’m thinking while I’m brushing my teeth. Even though I am aware many people use Twitter and Facebook status updates to push out interesting Web sites or actual insight, it angers me when people use these resources to release content without checking facts, and then call themselves reporters.

It’s particularly heartbreaking to me as someone who holding faint hope that I will work at a publication one day without the fear of losing my job.

Giving into mediums that don’t promote accurate reporting and concise writing, but gossip, hearsay and tacky abbreviations is a big problem to me. Too many people already believe reporting is so easy that a monkey could do it with a fedora and a notebook.

But these days, learning to tweet is like learning to drive. You can put it off for a long time, but if you want to get anywhere you have to bite the bullet at some point.

That’s not to say these professionals are completely right in shooing me out of journalism. I am among thousands of journalism students studying story structure and interviewing techniques, and we’re all trying to get jobs in an industry that has yet to reorganize itself for the Google Age. We are competition-with fresh angles for stories, the ability to stay up getting the reporting done, and we aren’t confounded by an iPhone.

But where will writing concisely, briefly and accurately get me, or any of these students?

If anyone can be the town crier with one click to get on Twitter, how will any journalist compel more than a handful of people to read a fully reported story?

Dehnart convinced me that social media is here to stay and I know the right tweet will come to me when the time is right. And it will be properly punctuated.