Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve (if you celebrate the occasion)!
Today’s Follow Friday Featured Profile is Evonne Benedict – who is an extraordinary Seattle Tweeter. I first got to know her through her “day job” Twitter account: @king5seattle. King 5 was one of the first of the local stations to embrace social media two years ago, and the job of leading the charge was given to Evonne – because (she said) nobody else really wanted it or know what to do with it. I noticed that @King5Seattle was tweeting a lot of great local information – not just promos for the station and reached out to compliment the tweeter behind the account and that began a casual conversation between the two of us. But I had no idea how many separate twitter accounts Evonne managed.
We actually met in person for the first time at a Seattle Social Media Club event a few months after we had been tweeting with other. As is often the case when you meet someone IRL (that’s “in real life” in cyber speak) it’s always fun and a bit of a surprise to actually put a face to a name/account (especially if you are used to only seeing a logo). But it was great fun to meet Evonne in person and to learn about all of her other twitter accounts – including her personal accounts. What’s really impressive to me is how she easily and seamlessly balances and transitions between the various accounts – and provides useful and entertaining information consistently.
Even though Evonne and I recently agreed that we disdain the term “social media rock star” because it’s become such a cliche’ – I will say that I think Evonne is truly one of our local social media experts and is one that Tweeters (both old and new) can learn from.
I also tweet for @king5seattle and backup on @king5sports, @nwcn, @king5eveningmag, @king5olympics, @king5newdaynw
Which social media networks do you use consistently?
Twitter/Facebook/just getting into Tumblr. I also love the community feeling on Intersect.
What was your “Aha” moment regarding social media (when/why did you decide to become engaged)?
I’ve had a several ‘aha’ moments, but my first was soon after I began tweeting @king5seattle. I saw a really fun Easter ‘peeps show’ on the Washington Post, and thought it would be cool to share with King 5’s followers. They loved it. A lot. This taught me the power of sharing others content. That ‘sharing’ is so key to any social media platform (why they call it social). The more you share others tweets/postings/links/blogs/stories/photos the more it becomes a habit. Without that sharing you’re just an RSS feed, in my opinion.
How has Social Media impacted you personally? How about professionally?
Social media has had a huge impact on me personally and professionally. I have met so many wonderful people online (and many later in real life) through first connecting on Twitter/Facebook. People I would never have had the opportunity to meet in ordinary circumstances. Many of these people have become close friends (even some I’ve yet to meet some IRL)
Professionally? It’s now my job! It’s dramatically changed the way I feel about our role at KING 5, and about journalism in general. It’s not just broadcasting anymore, it’s also listening to our audience. When someone asks me for advice on getting started I always suggest they just ‘listen’ for a week or two. If you learn how to listen consistently you will end up hearing some incredible stories.
You are one of the few people I know who successfully manages multiple Twitter accounts – moving back and forth between your “job” and your personal accounts. Sometimes you’re tweeting from both within minutes of each other – how do you do it?
How do I manage multiple Twitter accounts? Two screens. Both at work and at home. The right side is always the personal accounts, the left side is always the professional. I almost always use Tweetdeck for the KING 5 account. I also use Hootsuite, CoTweet, and the web as well as Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for iPad.
How did you first get into broadcasting?
I first got into broadcasting in college. I thought I wanted to be in the newspaper biz, but our office was right next to the college radio station and they seemed to always be having a lot more fun. So, it seemed like it might be worth exploring. When I finally declared my major it was broadcast journalism. My first ‘career’ job was in radio, but I quickly switched to TV.
What do you like most about being in the news/broadcasting business?
I love news. I love stories. I love people. That’s what the news biz is all about. I also love the digital world. I feel like I was born to be online, I just had to wait until I was an adult for the internet to be invented. (Thanks Al Gore 😉
Have you ever accidentally tweeted something from the wrong account?
I have tweeted the wrong thing from the wrong account. Ask @dingbatkaren or @alemily. They were there.
Have you been consciously thinking about using social media to help build your “personal brand?”
I don’t really feel the need to have a personal brand because I’m part of a fantastic brand already. KING 5 is home and family (my husband works here too). I admire my co-workers as professionals, and I love them as people. I also have great affection for our audience, and that affection has grown even more since I’ve started interacting with our community on a daily basis. It really doesn’t get much better.
What advice do you have for others who are still not convinced about the value of social media?
The value of social media? Try it for a month or two. Who did you meet? What did you learn? How did your life change? Would it have been possible otherwise?
Who is a better tweeter – you or @howiecohen?
What is your most memorable Twitter experience?
Most memorable Twitter experience – a local food bank was running low for an upcoming ‘baby day’ and was concerned about being able to help all the clients expected. We put out a Tweet (actually my boss’ idea) about that need, and it was retweeted by more than 100 people. The donations started flowing in, many people saying they heard about the need on Twitter/FB.
It was incredible. I was amazed at how people answered this call for help SO QUICKLY.
You’re a UW grad – so who is the greatest Husky football player of all-time?
Sonny Sixkiller though I think Jake Locker is running a very close second.
Predicted score of Holiday Bowl?
Huskies 28, Huskers 21. Really though I have no clue.
Funniest Social Media moment?
So MANY funny social media moments. My co-workers are so tired of asking ‘what is so funny?’ I spend much of my day laughing at my computer screen. People are so entertaining.
Biggest Social Media pet peeve?
RSS feed accounts. That’s not social.
Any parting shots?
Be yourself, be open, be ready to be surprised.
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