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Social media and newspapers: Two sides to the same coin?

Do you buy the concept that the best practices of social media are related to—if not identitical with—those of newspapers?

This is one of the questions Cleveland State University Prof. Elad Granot’s MBA marketing students will consider during tomorrow night’s class.

I know this, because I am joining them to speak about journalism, media relations and social media. All in slightly less than two hours. (Note to students: If you are reading this post, you get a class preview.)

Part of the discussion will center around a distillation I read recently from Keith Burtis, a social media consultant.

This is what Keith wrote in his Oct. 1 post:

“To me, twitter is about being human. My 2 rules for twitter engagement are here please help with defining number three:

“1. Create two way dialog with real people to real people. Don’t sopund like a press release.

“2. Be selfless and of massive value to the community. No one gives a crap about you, what they care about is what you can do for them.”

A bit rough around the edges, perhaps, but the sentiment holds for newspapers as well. Smart papers that wish to survive are no longer trying to communicate one-way with their readers, as in, “Here is the news from yesterday, even today. Digest it and we’ll get back to you later.”

Rather, smart papers are saying, “Here is the news of today. What do you think about it? What else do you know? What conversation regarding the day’s events or the trends affecting your life do you wish to explore today, right now?”

Doesn’t that sound like Burtis’ points 1 and 2?

My question is, what else am I missing regarding Burtis’ points, and the parallels between social media and newspapers? What else should I raise with these students?


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