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Part 2 – A Candid Chat with The Globe and Mail’s Social Media Evangelist Mathew Ingram

This post is the second in a two-part series [read the first part] of a discussion with Mathew Ingram, Communities Editor at The Globe and Mail, after his presentation, How the Globe and Mail is Using Social Media to Connect with its Readers at the Third Tuesday Toronto event last week.

What type of journalist should engage in social media?
One of the issues with traditional journalists is that they may have chosen journalism as a career because they don’t like people. They went into work, wrote their story and it got published. End of story. Whether the readers liked the story or not, or even read it at all, wasn't clearly known unless a reader managed to get a hold of the journalist’s phone number or wrote a letter to the editor. There was a huge buffer zone between journalists and their readers. This is no longer the case.

Modern journalists engaging in social media need to be transparent with their readers. And, develop a thick skin if you are the sensitive type, advised Mathew. He shared how upset one colleague became from all the negative comments posted on their articles online. Mathew adds that journalists who are very opinionated would be perfect for social media.

How do you measure success?
The Globe has no solid measurement of successful social media results to show as of yet. “The important thing right now is to engage,” said Mathew. “If we wait until a competitor shows results, it will be too late.” Now is when changes in advertising dollars have made the shift at the Globe. So now is when they need to do something different. Social media is free, so why not? The pay off will come later.

Globe journalists on Twitter
Mathew continues to persevere in getting more and more journalists to join Twitter. He welcomes them, letting his followers know that another Globe journalist has joined the twittersphere. Here are some of the Globe journalists on Twitter (my bit to help the social media evangelist):

@mathewi – Mathew Ingram (communities editor)
@mattfrehner – Matt Frehner (tech editor/web editor)
@hartleyglobe – Matt Hartley (tech reporter)
@misterjohndoyle – John Doyle (TV columnist)
@sashaglobe – Sasha Nagy (web editor)
@andrewgorham – Andrew Gorham (arts editor)
@snolen – Stephanie Nolen (Asian correspondent)
@dougsaunders – Doug Saunders (Europe bureau chief)
@brodiefenlon – Brodie Fenlon (reporter/web editor)
@activeverbs – Steve Ladurantaye (markets reporter)
@nestruck – Kelly Nestruck (theatre reviewer)
@ivortossell – Ivor Tossell (tech columnist)
@globebooks – Peter Scowen (web books editor)
@globecampus – Simon Beck (Globe Campus editor)

Mathew will be continuing to spread the word about the Globe’s social media story at mesh 2009.

As an added bonus, here is a snippet from Mathew's talk at Third Tuesday, captured by Matthew Burpee.