Steve Buttry makes frequent appearances in the B/R Blog. He’s a writer, editor, blogger and teacher who makes a habit of writing things I think are really smart and worth repeating.
Well, he’s done it again.
Buttry just found out he’s lost his job as Digital First Media is shutting down Project Thunderdome, its experiment in producing news content centrally for a huge chain of newspapers, leaving those papers’ staffs free to work on local reporting.
His response, on his personal blog, was to remind his fellow journalists why they should be using Twitter:
If you’re a journalist not using Twitter in 2014, you’ve chosen to be less skilled, less relevant, less visible and less connected. That’s your choice and I no longer care much about changing your mind. I can think of a few times in the last month that I’ve encountered journalists who were defiantly resisting use of Twitter and I just smiled, if I acknowledged their defiance at all.
But here’s one last try: You might get fired at any time. Every journalist knows that, especially these days. When you get fired, Twitter is an incredible source of encouragement and even job leads.
I’ve been fired twice in my career: in 1992 when I was editor of the Minot Daily News and Wednesday when Digital First Media announced that it was shutting Thunderdome and told me my job would end on July 1 …
I don’t minimize the experience of being fired, even when you do get other opportunities swiftly … But I’ll tell you this: I’ve been fired before I could use Twitter and I’ve been fired when I was active on Twitter. This is better.
I hadn’t realized it, but, like Buttry, I’ve reached the point where I figure any person in media who isn’t using Twitter fairly heavily has chosen to forego an important tool for some reason, and I no longer invest much time in trying to convince anybody. Maybe there are carpenters out there who don’t use hammers. Good for them.
But this is good advice. Read the whole thing. Get a load of the spreadsheet Buttry says he’s keeping to track job offers. He has about 16,000 followers on Twitter. That’s a healthy number, but we’re not talking about Lady Gaga here. Even those of us with more modest follower counts—your humble narrator is just north of 4,000—get a lot of value out of the platform.
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