Assignment Snapshot: Use social media to source a news article or piece of social media news content that engages you. Why does it engage you? How has the story been told? Consider the written journalism and any multi-media content. Do you recognize story telling techniques as discussed in our lecture?
When in doubt…just turn to sex.
Much of my research and reading for my job is serious. It’s not the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality but sometimes it can be. It’s also politics and corruption and national disaster and train wrecks and police-shootings -and that was just this last week. I follow many news organizations on my social platforms from the pinnacle New York Times to what some consider low-brow Buzzfeed, Upworthy and Vice. I do it to be on top of vast amounts of information for work but I also do it for fun. So that brings us to this week’s assignment:
In my down time, I tend to gravitate to the lighter side of the info-spectrum. I like edge. I like different. I like things that teach me something I didn’t know-and let’s be real, I like sex! Who doesn’t? So when I was trolling Twitter I came across this little Huff Po nugget and stopped and stayed awhile.
Why Did It Engage Me
This is pretty simple. It’s a straightforward title on a (sadly) taboo topic with a black and white photo that could have come right out of my mother’s 1963 yearbook (minus the book titled: “Masturbate”). Clearly I was not alone based on the 139 favorites and the 109 retweets after only being on Twitter for an hour.
I also read… a lot.
It’s part of my job so when I am not on the clock, I like spoon-fed nuggets. In other words, don’t make me work for it. When I see this social post, I know at first glance, I am going to have a nice, tightly packaged list of 13 reasons I need a little more “me time.”
How It’s Told
Lists are easy. Lists are familiar. We make them to organize and order chaos. They find their way into everything from classrooms to newscasts. (Have you ever seen a morning show that gives you “the five things you need to know before you go out the door?”). In my Social Media & News class we read Jeff Hodson’s 12 Tips For Producing Strong News Stories. The story here captures several of the tips Jeff recommends: It’s interesting and has some color and good quotes (“…a little menage a moi”…C’mon!). It’s clearly structured and organized and in the end it ACTUALLY has expert information. You probably know masturbation feels good but did you know it’s because of dopamine and oxytocin? Did you know masturbation is an actual sleep aid? What about the fact that it’s good for your health?
Is this really news…journalism?
There is no real inverted pyramid here. Huffington Post isn’t fighting for justice (although an argument could be made for feminism!). This isn’t going to clinch a peabody, lead a newscast or change laws. In today’s world though, much of what I call “social news” is about an experience. It makes us feel. It makes us laugh. It makes us smarter. It makes us want to share. A constant conversation in my newsroom is the ever-changing face and the ever-moving lines that define news, journalism and what we do every day. That’s a conversation to keep on having. The one for this week though, is about how to engage. Huffington Post did the ol’ “when in doubt, sex sells.” It did. I clicked…and I now have 13 reasons to engage more often.