As promised, I’m doing a little bit of blogging about myself this week. I was part of a group that did a presentation about social media during our lecture.

How did we get there, you may ask?

Our group was a somewhat critical of a previous lecture on Twitter, posting it in the #J2150 hashtag (oops), so we were asked to do a lecture to the class about social media. We planned it out, but the lecture kind of flopped. We had numerous technical issues, and the class was not as engaged as we had hoped. We used the hashtag for our lecture and saw criticism first-hand. It did not personally affect me, as I saw it coming after the technical snafus. I read the negative tweets in front class, too. One of the key elements of social media is honesty. People do not like to have their criticism glossed over and ignored, so I felt it was important to acknowledge it. Pretending something does not exist does not make it go away, as people behind social media (and other PR) disasters learned the hard way.

So, we learned our lesson there. You never know who watches what you post. As a journalist, you can only hope you have a wide audience; you just have to watch what you share with them.

But social media is a good thing for journalists, in my opinion. We get to interact with our audience and get stories and feedback that we may not have recieved in the pre-social media age. I like that. It is important for journalists to be seen as people (even though we aren’t), and as people, we make mistakes.

Social media makes it easy to broadcast a message you may regret to the world. So, with that in mind, I have been keeping a closer eye on what I, personally, post on social media. Part of my problem with social media (and life in general) is that I tend to be vocal when I see something that could use improvement. But I do not always express my thoughts in the most appropriate manner. I think this is what sunk me that Monday. I tend to be a little more biting and catty when I’m not happy (and when I see things that need improvement, I am usually not happy — it’s my impatience showing). Unfortunately, sometimes anger is a catalyst that makes us act irrationally and do things that we regret. And therein lies my problem.

I am working on channeling that into more constructive criticism and holding my “tongue” until I can cool down. After all, as a journalist, you have to be careful in how you express any opinion. So I need to express whatever opinions I may express in a constructive, respectful manner. It probably will not be easy. I foresee many bumps in the road. But I am trying, and I know now to watch myself. I try to think about what I am posting, reading every word for its context *before* I post it. I cannot afford to make a mistake in real life.

I guess that is a plus of the J-School, though. I am yet another young journalist taking his bumps and learning from his mistakes here before he goes out into the real world.

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