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The whole person at work

June 16, 2009

I recently hung out with Niala Boodhoo (“Miami Herald business reporter/radio person/blogger blah blah blah,” according to her Twitter account) at the June Social Media Club South Florida meetup at Transit Lounge in Brickell.   We were soaking up the wisdom of a fascinating panel of artists and other creatives who were talking about how they use social media to create community and generate interest in their work.

We had a really interesting conversation about how her work as a journalist is evolving as she and her employer embrace Social Media. She’s creating content not just for the printed paper, but for the blog she co-authors, Poked; her Twitter account, @nialaboodhoo; as well as the Business Monday interviews she conducts, most recently with the CEO of Auto Nation.

From an employee engagement and brand perspective – journalism aside – how are journalists like Niala being empowered by their employers to use social media to represent their brands?  How are their personal brands co-mingling with those of their employers online?

A couple of recent tweets represent the different faces of the whole person at work here:

  • “I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who listens to House of Pain while reading Fed Reserve reports, but wld love someone to prove me wrong”
  • “Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times…blame it on the boogie…”
  • “BREAKING NEWS: There’s been a shooting inside the Holocaust Museum in DC:
  • “Saw this ‘human remains in Biscayne Bay’ story unfolding. I called it in, but why didn’t I stop and do story myself?”

Social media tools like Twitter and blogs have evolved the role of some journalists at the Herald beyond a byline.  Not only that, these tweets reveal a real person behind the reporting and the face you see onscreen online.

As the Miami Herald plans its first Tweetup next week – a chance to meet several of the tweeting reporters in person at Tobacco Road – the interaction between reader (customer) and reporter (employee) is shifting, as these empowered, engaged employees become a literal face for the Miami Herald brand.

Out of the newsroom (office/factory) and into the real world, anyone who wants to can show up and meet and talk to these journalists, and they are promoting the heck out of it online in hopes that we will do just that.  The relationship is moving beyond one of reporters with potential story subjects or sources (raw materials) but one among readers (customers) and content creators (employees) and the paper (brand).  For many social media enthusiasts – themselves now empowered to be content creators and even a new breed of reporters – a kind of peer relationship is possible as well. All of this interaction is without the intermediary of editors (managers) and outside the physical space of the newspaper or web site (product) and the Miami Herald facilities (corporate headquarters).

A lot of companies are beginning to embrace social media; while some are just spitting out press releases through new channels, others are allowing real people to utilize Twitter, blogs, and other tools to engage customers in new ways.  Kudos to the Miami Herald for empowering its employees to share the whole person at work – I believe their team is able to do its work more effectively and with more passion, and I, for one, am a much more loyal reader to boot.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 1:26 pm

    Hi there
    loved the blog … very informative .. please keep it coming..

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