Associated Press, the official arbiter of terminology, text and typography turned to Twitter, it gave us funny feelings. We weren't sure if we were being wooed or abused.Despite the fact that social media is hardly still the exclusive purview of the early adopter, it still surprises, grates or inspires laughter sometime to see it crop up outside its native ecosystem. So, when
The 2010 AP Stylebook now carries a dark, dirty little section called "Social Media Guidelines." Squeeeeee! Let's look inside, shall we?
The 164-year-old AP has added 42 entries focused on social media terms. Among them are app, blogs, click-throughs, crowdsourcing, curate, e-reader, friend and unfriend, hashtag, metadata, RSS, search engine optimization, smart phone, trending, widget and wiki.
Something those not conversant with professional journalism might keep in mind is that these changes are not an imprimatur, nor a statement of strategic engagement with social media on the part of AP (though they do have a Twitter account and solicited user feedback on what to include). This new section is a judgment on how to use relatively new elements of speech and aspects of content in a standardized fashion so that they will read across all publications and platforms.
It is, after all, as easy to misread journalism from a social media vantage point as it is to misinterpret the significance of social media from the standpoint of traditional media. This should go some ways toward translating two different ways of doing what amounts to the same thing an awful lot of the time.