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Social Media Day: Times reporters in 140 characters

June 30, 2011 | 11:18 am

In case you haven't gotten the memo (or tweet, email, message, text, etc.) Thursday is Social Media Day. Social websites Twitter and Facebook haven't been around for even a decade, yet the sites have had a significant effect -- locally and abroad -- on news in the last year.

As journalists, we're always trying to figure out how to better serve our readers with these new tools. The Los Angeles Times is on Twitter, where we serve up daily and breaking news. We also have a main Facebook page where we share stories and welcome readers to join in discussions and polls.

Readers can also choose to follow specific sections and blogs on Facebook or Twitter.

Many of our reporters and columnists are also active on social media sites.

We asked some of them how social media has changed the way they work -- and asked them to answer in 140 characters or less:

How has social media changed your job?

James Rainey Thumbnail

James Rainey Media columnist @LATimesrainey

More info, more often. Good linking ecosystem and a way to reach out for occasional crowd sourcing. Relentless.

Sam Farmer
NFL columnist @LATimesfarmer

It has made press boxes much quieter because everyone saves their best wisecracks for Twitter. Now, they're libraries.

Job is now 24/7. Premium on speed, brevity rather than thought, reason. Twitter good for immediacy, bad for analysis.

Helene Elliott Sports columnist @helenenothelen

Christopher Knight
Art critic @KnightLAT

Only a minimal change to my job, as a quick 'refer' to subjects on my beat. Couldn't do that pre-tweet.

Has the way you use social media changed in the past year?

James Rainey Media columnist @LATimesrainey

More frequent posting on Twitter. I get more links, story ideas on Twitter than via email.

I cover tech. Twitter's invaluable. I use it to communicate w/companies; spot trends & of course: to share work we do w/world

Nathan
Olivarez-Giles
Tech Reporter @nateog

Sam Farmer
NFL columnist @LATimesfarmer

I'm not as tweet-happy as I was when this was a new toy. These days I tend to keep my fingers holstered.

Use it more for quick quotes, news bits.

Helene Elliott Sports columnist @helenenothelen

Christopher Knight
Art critic @KnightLAT

No.

Have you had any noteworthy exchanges or conversations with followers?

Sam Farmer
NFL columnist @LATimesfarmer

Not too often. In game coverage, though, you can see what scenes/plays/moments struck a nerve. Lots of helpful eyes out there.

Have had many exchanges, conversations with Twitter/Facebook followers and have gotten story tips, info.

Helene Elliott Sports columnist @helenenothelen

How do you feel about sharing your personality on social media?

Can work well on Facebook. Can be pithier on Twitter than in print.

Helene Elliott Sports columnist @helenenothelen

Sam Farmer
NFL columnist @LATimesfarmer

Sometimes I like it. Makes you more human to readers. Gotta be careful about getting too comfortable. When in doubt, X it out.

Sharing your personality is key. We're people, not RSS feeds. People want to follow people — that's a huge reason why most are on Twitter.

Nathan
Olivarez-Giles

Tech Reporter @nateog

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