People have been asking what I plan to do with @bhampostjoanna after I leave the Post at the end this week.
The answer seems to cause some consternation: I am keeping the account and changing the name to reflect the new publication I work for.
“But these are contacts you’ve built up during your time at The Post! You can’t just take them with you,” has been one of the responses. (NB. It is worth noting that The Post has been very happy for me to retain my account – the comments have mostly come from people outside of journalism).
I guess it raises the question: who owns a journalist’s account on a social network, if they use it purely for work?
The answer seems simple to me: what journalist doesn’t take their contact book with them when they leave (or at very least a copy of it)? The nature of the job is that you build relationships with people and, although some will leave you when you switch titles, others will be contacts throughout your working life.
The benefit of a Twitter account is, of course, that all my contacts are publicly available for anyone to see. So, unlike a contact book, I can’t run off and hide it when I leave!
This blog post is the start of letting people know that on March 9 I hope to change @bhampostjoanna to @timesjoanna.
Alternate Birmingham Post Twitterers include:
@mikehughes, executive editor
@steve_nicholls, multimedia editor
@paulmdale, public affairs editor
@jonwalker121, political editor
@tomscotney, business reporter, legal and financial
@anna_blackaby, business reporter, creative industries
@mandybrain, marketing development manager
Why can’t you take the contacts with you? I follow you on Twitter because your tweets are relevant, interesting, ‘human’ and warm – not because you work for the Birmingham Post. If we had met in real life at a business networking meeting, I’d still be as interested in what you had to say if you moved on to a new firm – good luck to you. I took contacts I built up at the Express & Star to find stories for a (very brief) stint at the Sunday Mercury and years later wrote about what they were up to for national publications – keep your contacts, looks to me like you know how to nurture them and treat people with good humour and respect.
And now I sound like a stalker. Shit.
All the best.
All the best to you! Great post – transparency is always the way to go. You’ve got lots of integrity.
Linda: LOL! No, you sound like someone who uses Twitter. 😀 I’m the same. Thank you for your kind words.
Sarah: Thank you too!
It is perhaps worth pointing out that The Birmingham Post have been very happy for me to retain the @bhampostjoanna account. It has been people outside our journalism that have been surprised that I am able to keep it. I shall add that to the post.
I think it’s ridiculous to suggest you can’t take your contacts with you – when you start your new job are you supposed to phone up everyone you met in the last 2 years and say “sorry, I can’t talk to you any more”.
Or what you could do is organise an event where you invite them all, then pretend you don’t know them. Actually that’s a great idea – think of the fun you’d have!
I guess the argument is how are you meant to just forget you know people? Would it be unethical to write down the twitter names and add them to a new account?
Its not like a sales job where you may be suspected of stealing clients. You maintaining a contact list is not going to lose any business to the Post will it?
Good decision I reckon. That mindset seems a bit like people from “old media” being a stick in the mud.
Good luck with @timesjoanna
Every journalists takes their contacts with them when they leave, if they can.