Read enough social-media policies, and you’ll wonder if you’ve torn a page out of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. The New York Times tells its staff that if they “engage in editorializing on social media, that can undercut the credibility of the entire newsroom.” The Associated Press warns employees that they “must be mindful that opinions they express may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news.”
But is there evidence to back this up? And if there isn’t, perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative universe, where reporters’ tweets and statements––for the most part––don’t have much effect on how people view their news organizations.
Social media can operate like a carnival mirror, offering a contorted view that makes that day’s outrage seem like the most consequential thing in the world, at least to the slice of the globe that is following along. Most everyone else usually remains oblivious.