I love to follow trends and as I dig deeper into the many ways to use social media in the news business, the more interesting it is to watch trends in this quickly changing world. The big talk I’m seeing right now is the difference between mindcasting and lifecasting.
Mindcasting is when you broadcast what’s on your mind. This blog post is a mindcast. I’m typing out my thoughts on these two different styles of social communication. A lot of journalism professionals who are looking at the future of the industry tend to mindcast. They share links and tips and ideas about what is happing to the profession of journalism. Lifecasting is broadcasting what you’re doing in your life. If you are at the gas station, you mention how you’re filling up the tank. If you’re in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, you might mention how you’re not looking forward to stepping onto the scale when the nurse calls you into the examination room. A person who lifecasts talks about the day to day activities in their life. Usually you’ll see these two styles in many different forms on Twitter.
That made me think about how I tweet. I thought about it a lot especially after I got blasted by a person who has been in the broadcast profession for a very long time. He complained about how I tweet. He complained about how I tweet about going to the grocery store (which I actually do on a very rare occasion). I told him he could stop following me and not need to worry about my tweets. But he just kept complaining. What I couldn’t get him to understand was the fact that what I write on Twitter is something he can choose to read or not read. That’s the great thing about the microblog experience. You can choose to read and you can choose to not read. It’s much easier than deciding to unfriend a person on Facebook. A Twitter stream is just a Twitter stream. You don’t loose any other connection with that person. If you follow them on Facebook, you also lose all of that person’s contact information. If you unfollow on Twitter, you just don’t “listen” to that person’s little comments – mundane or non-mundane.
The interaction with this person made me realize that I use Twitter with a combination of mindcasting and lifecasting. I have a bunch of followers who seem to be okay with that style… And I had to think about what is appropriate for a journalist. If I was working in a more traditional newsroom, would I tweet differently? I doubt it. I think the items I tweet about show the many facets of my life: journalism, newsroom management, higher education, technology, parenting, parenting a child with physical challenges, owning a dog, running and exercise, marriage, and you know – sometimes it’s about grocery shopping. It makes me real. It shows the reality of being a journalist who is more than just a journalist. We’re all like that… Or at least, we all try to expand our life beyond work.
I’d be curious to hear what you think – in a mindcasting or lifecasting way.