'Don't use Facebook as a professional tool', warns senior national journalist

'Don't use Facebook as a professional tool', a senior national journalist warned conference delegates at PRWeek's PR and the Media conference.

The Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor: Neil Midgley
The Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor: Neil Midgley

The Daily Telegraph’s assistant editor (media) Neil Midgley was speaking at PRWeek’s PR and the Media conference in London on Wednesday.

He told delegates that journalists and PROs should only use Facebook in a personal capacity.

‘It’s my network. I won’t post details of my sex life on it, but I can post status updates on there that I wouldn’t post on Twitter. Don’t talk to me about work on it,' he said.

He also criticised PROs who asked to be his friend on the social networking site, even though they had never met him.

Instead he said PROs and journalists should use ‘magic’ Twitter,which was ‘both a professional tool and a personal pastime’.

He praised Twitter’s immediacy and added that it was a great way for him to test stories, get feedback and find ‘tiny acorns’ to lift his stories.

But he told PROs to choose whether to be themselves or be their brand. ‘Don’t suddenly put your propaganda hat on,' he said, adding that PROs should engage with feelings and a sense of humour. 

He also reminded PROs that journalists trust other journalists. ‘If I post a tweet with a fact in it, other journalists will rely on me to have fact-checked. We’re a pack, we trust each other far more than we trust you unfortunately,' he said.

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