To Like or Not to Like
The “Reply All” emails streamed in one after another last week when Coeur d’Alene Police Department announced they were planning on retiring their method of emailing press releases and case information to media outlets. They would embrace Facebook and Twitter as their choice of informing the press of their happenings.
“We are committed to innovate ideas, and programs that enable us to communicate with citizens swiftly if we have public safety concerns,” said Chief Wayne Longo.
In each “Reply All” was an objection to the decision (save for one person). Don’t worry, the Police Department retracted their decision and all is well in the world of journalism again. How does this affect me though? For goodness sakes, I’m a blogger! Blogging allows more room for twists, snark and the letter I. For my colleagues, I understand their predicament. Huckleberries Online, brought up an interesting question: “Are journalists being hypersensitive to the “like” button on Facebook? Or do they have a good point re: the possible appearance of a breach of objectivity?”
I have never thought of the “like” button as literally liking the brand, organization or person. The action of ‘liking’ something on Facebook is essentially “subscribing” to the feed of information. I want to stay updated on topical spewage by that page. Liking something on Facebook helps me in the following ways:
1. Story Ideas
Content inspires new content. I see a post by a local business. They posted it 32 seconds ago. I call them immediately, pen and reporter’s notebook handy hoping to get more information before anybody else. Quote? Check. Background? Check. TBA news? Check. I’m hoping to creep on Tom Sowa’s turf one day.
2. Personal Endeavours
I like cupcakes. I make cupcakes at home. I will follow cupcake businesses on Facebook. “It’s something I live with. It’s a part of me. I’ve learned to cope with it.”
Sometimes, it is almost impossible to get a hold of an individual behind a page. They don’t list their email address or phone number. Hell, you don’t even know who is running the damn thing. The best option is to ‘like’ their page so you can leave a sweet little message the says, “Hey, you behind the curtain. I want to give you press. Call me.” In some cultures, they call that badgering.
The Inlander’s Daniel Walters called me an input junkie. I’m constantly gobbling up every ounce of information I can get my hands on. It’s only when I’m craving the midnight snack that I feel the anxiety of withdrawal. Nobody updates between midnight and 5 a.m. That’s why I make as many friends as possible with international folks.
Officially, I will never judge a journalist for liking something on Facebook. I think all of us heavy social media users have come to understand that liking something isn’t what they think it means. It’s just a cute way to subscribe to information.
In regards to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department retracting their statement of committing to Facebook and Twitter only, I’m glad. Think of this formula that has been the solid formula for decades. In fact, here are some infographics to visual what’s been happening, what is happening and what would have happened.
What do you see?