As a group of young journalists we give each other feedback and talk about ideas constantly. This is as important as exchanging useful tools that could become necessities for our future working life. In the Tips & Tricks section The Hook wants to present you convenient hacks that can help any journalist, writer, or blogger.
You know someone who knows someone but you can’t find their email address in your pile of notes and your address book is nowhere to be found? Maybe it’s time to put your address book aside and to start structuring your contacts digitally. Today I’ll introduce you to two tools that can help you.
Every journalist or blogger should be familiar with Twitter and how to use it. Journalists mainly value Twitter because it keeps us updated throughout the day. But for some journalists, who follow more than 400 people, keeping track of everything might be a challenge.
The constant flow of information of your Twitter feed can hide the most important news from you. One function that can help you with this problem is the so-called “list” function, which allows you to structure your Twitter feed.
Just create new lists and categorize the people you are following. For instance, if you are interested in bloggers who tweet about U.S. foreign policy, create a list and place all these bloggers’ Twitter accounts in your own new list. If you now click on the list you only get the newest tweets from these people and you won’t miss any news that might be important for your work.
At the same time you can either choose to have your list public (open for everyone to see) or you can make it private (for example, to hide your obsession with the cast members of the TV show Friends). If you select your lists to be public, you automatically allow other Twitter users to follow your lists. And you can obviously do the same: someone might have already collected all the major Dutch freelancers in one public list and all you have to do is follow that list to get structured updates.
Many journalists might already know the social network LinkedIn (or the similar network Xing). For those who are completely new to the professional network please also check out this article. On these websites anyone can create their own professional profile. You are able to search for specific people with a particular work place, interest, or skill and you can widen your network as you add people as your connections. By now it should be obvious to everyone why journalists or bloggers should use these professional networks. What? You are still not convinced?
Well, there is more to LinkedIn: You can also post links of your recent work and possible employers might discover you. I know, most journalists don’t like the term personal branding but when you want to draw attention to your own work, there is no way around it.
On the LinkedIn homepage you have three options to share information with your connections. You can share an update, upload a photo, and you can even publish a longer post. The “share an update function,” for example, allows you to post links of your work. If you would like to link your work permanently to your profile, you could also use the function “add a publication” on your profile page with a direct link to your article.
Apart from creating an online contact list and personal branding, LinkedIn also gives you the option to join specific groups connected to your interests or area of work. These groups can help you to further broaden your network and pick up on new ideas or sources.
The possibility to join groups also allows you to search for people who are, for example, interested in international justice. Just type in the search bar the keywords you are looking for and you get a list of groups connected to that topic. Try to join the group and if you then check the members of the group you might find sources that can be helpful for you.
Henk van Ess brought the Twitter list and the LinkedIn group function to my attention during a lecture at the University of Groningen. Twitter: @henkvaness
By Anna-Lena Sachs
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