Reporters Need 2 Facebook Pages

This is a Poynter EMedia Tidbits column from November, but it’s relevant today considering that election season is kicking into gear.

… So what you might want to do is set up a second Facebook page for your professional persona, and collect not “friends” but “followers.”

An example of what I mean has been implemented by ABC News with its off-air presidential campaign correspondents. ABC has assigned a correspondent to follow each of the major U.S. candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties, and each of those journalists has a personal page on Facebook. These aren’t normal Facebook user profiles, but rather “Facebook pages,” which are the same format as used by businesses wanting to create a page for themselves.

With a Facebook “page,” a journalist can collect followers or fans of his/her work. For example, here’s a page for ABC’s Sunlen Miller, who is covering the Barack Obama campaign. (Note: You’ll need to be logged in to your Facebook account to see that page.) Miller’s page features notes and photos from the campaign trail, links to ABC News coverage, and anyone can “Follow this reporter,” which is sort of a variation of becoming a “friend.” Followers of Miller’s work can send her a message, or write on her “wall.”

Miller also keeps her “Facebook status” updated. As Facebook users know, there’s a line under your name that you can keep updated with what you’re currently doing. (It’s similar to Twitter and other “presence” or “microblogging” services. In fact, with Twitter you can have Facebook status updated automatically whenever you post to Twitter.)

Check out all the ABC News campaign correspondents on their Facebook pages to see how they are utilizing this opportunity to reach the Facebook generation.


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