Social media focus of panel

Written By Sabrina Bodon

The Point Park News Service held its second annual social media event #Burgh2.0 from 2-4 p.m. in the Lawrence Hall Ballroom Monday featuring four professionals discussing their approaches on social media.

The shift to the digital sphere has affected the way KDKA-TV anchor Kristine Sorensen, Very Smart Brothers co-founder/editor-in-chief Damon Young, analytics engineer Kristen Perko and senior social-digital strategist at Smith Bros. Brandi Smith and several companies connect to their audiences.

“To go to the blessings of social media and how I can use it, it’s a wonderful way to connect directly with our viewers and our community,” Sorensen said Monday during her presentation.

She then opened her Facebook page for the audience to see. “So often people see us in their homes and they feel like they get to know us. This way they can actually connect and get to know us and know a little more about us than what they see on TV.”

With KDKA, there are no official rules or regulations anchors must follow regarding social media posting, Sorensen explained, but there is an ongoing conversation on how they should utilize social media in promoting KDKA and its stories, community events and her talents.

Negative comments were a hot topic of discussion, with several of the panelists chiming in with their different approaches.

Young, who uses social media to not only promote himself as a journalist, but also his company, found negative comments to be amusing to a degree but also provides important insight on how he should write about sensitive topics, such as sex, gender inequality and race.

“There are certain negative comments that affect me and these aren’t necessarily hate mail messages, but criticisms,” Young said. “If I get criticism about something I wrote…and someone responded saying that I was insensitive, that’s a criticism that I actually mind.”

Sorensen, on the other hand, found the most effective way to combat negative comments is to ignore them.

As a social-digital strategist, Smith is typically required to reply using pre-approved responses as she works as the voice of the company. However, in certain circumstances, she is able to create a more open and free discussion.

On the branding side, Smith mentioned social media posts usually funnel through several channels before posting, but with professionals like Sorensen and Young, their accounts are up on display with their own original content.

Regarding the Facebook post that led to Wendy Bell’s termination with WTAE, Young said, “When writing about something politically charged…before you hit send, maybe you have somebody read it.”