Aspiring journalists desire exposure, crave outlets for their work, and more than anything else are on the look out for the current stories, and the jobs that lead to such stories.
Breaking into journalism is not, nor do I think has ever been an easy thing to do, but with determination, passion and a strong online presence, I think it could be easier to get on the writing path.
A couple of my friends alerted me to the fact that they’d been discussing the key to my ‘success’ was down to my ‘aggressive online presence’. Firstly, I admitted an awareness of how much time I invest on my Twitter account, tweaking my CV and chipping at my LinkedIn resume, but secondly pondered just that…what it meant to have a strong online presence, and what this meant for potential jobs/writing opportunities.
It’s actually through Twitter that I found the process to apply for work experience with The Times, pitched an idea to The Independent and recently found another placement that I am waiting to hear back from now. I saw myself transform from a Twitterphobe, where I was adamant the hashtag should only belong in music, and before I knew it, I was retweeting, favouriting and tweeting at journalists left right and centre. Just like a trusty search engine, I find Twitter to open up opportunities and provide its tweethearts with the potential to find similar sorts of people, companies and accounts like I have, and am sure many others have done too.
While I still am a Facebooker through and through, Twitter is more direct; I’ve sent links to online articles I’ve published to the celebrities, Apprentice candidates, journalists I’d been writing on. Often, this results in a haul of Retweets, gaining a string of new readers as a result. I guess what is important about Twitter is that you can invest as much or as little time in it as you like, but if you do not ask you do not get, and social networking follows the same principle.
Taking a few moments to search online journalists whose articles you enjoyed reading and sending them a quick tweet expressing how it helped, or even it you disagreed with every point made, all comments participate in the big discussion of what we are reading, why we read, and whether we read because people write or write because people read…and this is something that applies to both online and offline writing alike. Similarly, if you were an esteemed writer, wouldn’t you like to get feedback on what you were communicating? I know I would.
However, keeping the line between having the professional you, you wish to convey, and the ‘WHY DO I ALWAYS END UP IN TOWN AFTER ONE DRINK?’ revelatory tweets is always an issue with all social media. If you’ve worked hard to get the online contacts, then the world is your oyster for what you do with them, and how you use them, just so long as you have a good balance and don’t tweet constant pictures of you doing tequila slammers when you’re meant to be writing a deadline for someone who is following you and likely to see…