Finding Your Social Media Voice — Robin J. Phillips


People have an image of you, whether you like it or not, said Robin J. Phillips, digital director at The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism and co-founder of #wjchat, a weekly Twitter-based community of web journalists.

“ (Your brand) is not just about telling people what you’ve done and how great you are. It’s about anticipating what you can do for them and sharing that,” she said.

Phillips sees value in having a strong online presence and developing a positive reputation, both of which can be done using social media.

Two goals to remember when developing a brand online are to “differentiate yourself” and “know yourself,” Phillips said. Journalists should discover what is valuable to their career and to themselves personally, and use that knowledge to showcase themselves.

One way to determine your current online persona is to ask friends, mentors and strangers what they think and what they see, Phillips said. She demonstrated this by showing various KipCamp fellows their own Internet personas, displaying their Twitter and Facebook pages, websites and results of online searches. “I just Googled,” she said.

Philips’ tips for extending the Fellows’ brands include:

  • Secure your own domain name; this makes finding your work much easier. A website for checking available domain names is
  • Google searches for common names can result in many individuals, so determine how to make yours unique. Phillips goes by Robin J. Phillips to differentiate herself.
  • Try to maintain just one account for each social media platform: It’s easier for the public to locate a journalist’s work.
  • Balance your personal and professional lives, excluding private information. The private can include personal relationships and opinions on almost any matter, which should not be shared because this compromises objectivity.
  • Look at other journalists online. Many have already developed their brand. A few that Phillips considers to have a strong presence:
    Twitter: Mark S. Luckie, @marksluckie
    LinkedIn: Yumi Wilson
  • Do not rely on links, which are owned by other sites and could disappear. When sharing work online, use PDF files to ensure they are easily accessible.
  • Look for individuals who have portfolio websites and model something similar. Portfolio sites allow a journalist to bring together various media outlets into one portfolio.

Phillips reminded attendees to be themselves, to be interesting and to be focused. When developing your brand, she said, the first and last question you ask yourself should be the same.

“Who are you?”

Follow Robin J. Phillips on Twitter @RobinJP.


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