What is a social media and community editor?
Gone are the days when news organizations had just copy editors and page designers. Nowadays there are newsroom titles like digital optimizer, audience analyst and executive mobile editor. As social media platforms have evolved so have job titles, along with the tools journalists use to communicate with audiences. In this series, RJI will learn more about these titles and the people who hold them.
This Q&A has been edited for space and clarity.
Francina Morel joined a team of social media and community editors at msnbc.com in the summer of 2015. This team has grown to accommodate the demands of the never-ending news cycle and the needs of those getting news from their social media platforms, she says.
Tell me what a social media and community editor does.
A social media and community editor for msnbc.com does a variety of things. Often times, the belief is people involved in this field spend their day tweeting and posting on Facebook, but it involves a lot more strategy than just getting content out on Facebook and Twitter. Social media editors have to publish new content such as articles and videos onto Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Instagram. Each piece of content we post has to be packaged for each particular platform. If we are posting to Facebook, we think about the status, the headline and the subheadline of each post. If we are posting to Twitter, we take a slightly different approach and the same goes for any other platform we use.
Aside from posting onto social platforms, we also have to keep up with the news. A lot of times we are able to find out about trending news through Twitter, Google Trends and Facebook. Once we see something is buzzing we alert the rest of the team.
We also review comments both on the website and on social platforms. This is really key in the community part of the role as it tells you how the audience feels about the content you are posting. Comments can be very insightful and can help us figure out how to package content going forward. Additionally, reading comments allow us to create community-centered content such as polls, quizzes, memes and GIFs. In essence, a social media and community editor is usually trying to stay on top of any news that is trending, publishing content that resonates with our audience, listening to how our community responds and creating content based on our findings.
What are you working on today?
Right now, all eyes are on the election season. We are focused on election primaries, caucuses, debates, town halls, et cetera. If a presidential candidate says something, we're on it. This means we are constantly on top of whatever political feuds are brewing. I have my Tweetdeck set up in a way that I'm able to see any candidate's most recent tweet. It's a lot of work and a lot of fun. The 2016 presidential season is definitely one to watch.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love that I know about what's happening at any given moment and sometimes before most of my friends. I am completely fascinated with social media and how one tweet can blow up into an existential conversation. I really enjoy seeing something I posted on social media become widely viewed and shared, especially when it was something I felt particularly compelled to post.
What’s the biggest challenge in your line of work?
Even though we are always on top of whatever is trending, things can get lost in the shuffle. It's the nature of the business. Trends are hard to master because they are always evolving. This is definitely true across many news organizations.
What tools could you not live without in your job?
The basics are obviously Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+ and Tumblr. Social publishing and listening tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Crowdtangle and Dataminr are all crucial for the work we do.
What prepared you for this job?
I used to work at The Huffington Post prior to this and there were a lot of similarities like checking for trending stories and looking to social media to find what people were saying about the news. I think a curiosity to understand the world of social media outside of just being a person who uses social media really inspired me to take on this role.
Who does this position report to?
We have six social media editors and two interns who report to the manager of social media and community.
What unique job titles do you believe should be featured in our series? Please send your suggestion to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org for her consideration.
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