Letters to the editor in the social media age

Classic rules for letter-writing still apply, but social media adds new twists.

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Classic rules for letter-writing still apply, but social media adds new twists

Social media now lets everyone with an opinion and access to the Internet sound off to the op-ed and letters pages about anything that gets under their skin. That would seem to dramatically reduce the chances that your executive’s letter or contributed op-ed ever sees the light of day. However, Ray Merenstein and Matthew Bowdy, both veteran nonprofit communicators and writers of many a successfully published opinion piece, say that social media hasn’t substantially changed the rules of the game.

Merenstein, principal of RDM Communications in Denver, and Bowdy, communications strategist at Humana in Louisville, Ky., say that if anything, social media has made it easier for execs to get their viewpoints in public view. That means a lot during an election cycle.

“Newspapers will print five letters in their print editions, but they’ll run 25 letters online,” Bowdy explains. And Merenstein points out that many executive letter-writers no longer demand a print clip for their efforts. “The mentality has changed to having to see it in print, to having to see it somewhere online,” he says.

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