by JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Twitter or Facebook? Editor Samantha Perry — who resisted the lure of Twitter in the early days — is now four followers away from 300 and 25 tweets away from 300. She is the fastest to tweet breaking news and was the first in the newsroom to reach 100 followers on Twitter. I prefer Facebook. She would rather tweet. Either way, we have an agreement. Luckily, our phones are lined up with cool apps and we regularly share funny posts and tweets throughout the day. We call them our daily pick-me-ups. Even journalists follow grumpy cats on Twitter; we need the humor. I feel like a proud social media mother. Now if I can only get her to create a Facebook account.
Last week, Samantha and I used our smartphones and her Twitter account to mastermind a slightly devious plan. We knew fellow coworker Bill Archer would be receiving the Shott Media award at Bluefield College’s annual Media Day. We had to keep the award a secret from Bill, but be ready to share the news on our website and Facebook page. Our plan depended a lot on technology. Samantha and Assistant Managing Editor Charles Owens, along with Bill, would attend the event. I would stay in the newsroom and wait for Samantha’s text and tweet, the green light to start posting news about Bill’s award on the Telegraph website and in an email blast to readers. Samantha’s tweet included a photo, which I also posted along with the story. From tweet to post, it took less than five minutes. Before I would have waited for a phone call. I wanted to give Samantha a virtual high-five — mission accomplished.
I can use Twitter and Facebook to reach readers, find recipes for dinner, create holiday decor, log a workout and much more. It has become a part of daily life for many of us who depend on the battery life of our phone to keep up with the world. In the Sunday edition of Lifestyles, we have been running the top apps of the week, ranging from gardening to education. Right now, there are even apps for prom season. Today’s teens can bring their phone to a stylist and give them an exact photo, straight out of Hollywood and the runway. There are even a few Prom Twitter accounts to follow, if you’re into tweeting or reading tweets about corsages, sequins and high heels. Facebook has dozens of pages devoted to prom as well — everything from stores to salons. It is amazing how each new season, like spring fishing season and events like prom, bring out the apps and tweets in all of us.
But sometimes Twitter makes people a little jumpy. A perfect example is the fake tweet from the Associated Press about an attack on the White House. The tweet caused the stock market to drop in seconds. Many news publications were quick to realize the tweet was fake based on the style of the Tweet. But that is something only journalists would know. What about the general public? Do your own investigating; check out the source. As for us? We will do the same before retweeting any breaking news. Samantha was the first one to come out of her office to warn us about the fake tweet. I knew any hope for a Facebook page was lost; she was still in love with Twitter.
Facebook or Twitter — which is better? The battle lines in the newsroom have been drawn. Samantha will continue to tweet and I will, most likely, stick with Facebook. But one thing we will always agree on is the use of paper and pen and newspapers and magazines. We love our tools and gadgets, but deep down, there is always the comfort of familiarity in an open newspaper and the glossy images of magazines. That is something we won’t argue about in this newsroom.
Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BDTParsell.