3 Bosses Who "Get" Social Media

Updated: June 25, 2010

In all the years I have been involved with news organizations, whether they be radio, TV or print, most of my bosses haven't been very internet savvy. In recent years though that has begun to change. Now the people in charge of newsrooms are starting to become web literate. The influx of Facebook and Twitter has caused old school journalists to move online, and see the possibilities for their company sites, as well as the advertising on said sites.

It goes without saying that some "get it" when it comes to social media more than others. Some just have no clue, and I'm not going to talk about them here, because I would prefer to focus on where we're going, instead of where we've been (at least for this post). Here are three types of bosses who know where we are going, and are adjusting their old media jobs to fit the times.

The Youngin'

She's young… maybe 31 or 32. She could perhaps run her publication's social media strategy herself if she didn't already run the newsroom. She likes playing video games in her spare time. She knows what makes a story shareable on the web. She spends time on FARK and understands the humor that it takes to get one of the site's admins to put her content on the front page. She spends time looking at the front page of Digg. When she submits something to Digg, there are people who actually digg her content because they recognize her as having dugg their content. She's a member of several social networks in fact. She's just as likely to tweet something as she is to update her Facebook page (or that of her news organization).

The highlight of the last month for her was buying her iPad. She brags about the different apps she has downloaded and gives interns and employees advice on how to use the thing. When the writers release a blog update, she uses SEO principles to adjust the title so that it earns a higher place on search results. She reads Mashable and TechCrunch in her free time. She enjoys talking with the web professionals on her staff to learn the latest trends in the world of tech.

The Adaptable Pro

They call him "old" but he gets it. Learning new things is what it's always been about. He began as a reporter 20 years ago, and has always had a quick and nimble mind that helped him keep up with the world around him and deliver the facts to the public for the TV stations and the publications he worked for. These days he looks at his site's page view numbers almost as much as he looked at the ratings for TV stations he worked for. Now that he runs this news operation it's vital that he doesn't just keep up with how news is disseminated, but that he participates in that dissemination himself.

Twitter is the primary example of this. One of his web professionals recommends that he sends at least ten tweets a day from his own Twitter account, so he does his best to reach that number each day. He's starting to get the hang of it and people in the company are retweeting him. People out there are realizing that his account is associated with his particular news operation, so he has started to build a sizable following. He knew he had "arrived" when one of the country's largest blogs about online culture called him "the old guy who tweets about stuff no one cares about." That was a kick. It made him realize that the next time he had a job opening for a blogger, he should hire someone from that organization. It would only help his company's online cred. So he did just that.

The Vet/Legend

It's been 30 years since she became editor of a newspaper for the first time. It goes without saying that things have changed, but she knows how to roll with the punches. She's actually run this particular publication so long that the burger joint across the street has named one of its food items after her. In recent years the effort to integrate the web into her operation has really picked up steam. Online advertising revenue has risen as a portion of the company's overall number, so she can see the writing on the wall.

She doesn't do SEO or social media work herself, but she knows her people have it covered and she understands the importance of those things. Fine tuning in those areas has lead to an increase in page views for the paper's Web site, and that's the key thing. She's an overseer. It's her managing editor's job to inspect the content and her job to make sure that the team gets results both online and off. She's not always been "into" the internet but she's started to browse more and more in recent years. Particularly, she likes to see what her main competitors are covering throughout the day. She was thrilled to learn recently that because of her company's embrace of social media, her site is eclipsing many of the other publication Web sites in the market.

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