I have to admit I didn’t really know what to make of this when it first hit the wires.
My initial reaction was “contradictions in terms” – surely the whole essence of social media is that is is self generating, self managing and ultimately self perpetuating so why would anyone need to be an editor ?
Dig a little deeper and you find the role, according to a memo from deputy managing editor Jonathan Landman is “… someone who concentrates full-time on expanding the use of social media networks and publishing platforms to improve New York Times journalism and deliver it to readers”. Laudable indeed. The memo continues that the role will “… work closely with editors, reporters, bloggers and others to use social tools to find sources, track trends, and break news as well as to gather it”
So there it is. Not exactly an editor – more like an evangelist and mentor to the collective editorial wisdom at the NYT. No bad thing at all…. and the holder of this illustrious title is one Jennifer Preston.
As of 27/05/09, Jenifer had over 2500 followers but surprising was only following 165 of us. I guess she’s getting plenty of input and just being selective 🙂 but we should probably all wish her good luck.