Monday, April 11, 2011

No contract, no Tweeting or Facebooking, union says to the AP

In what gives a new and modern twist to the concept of "work to rule", the union News Media Guild is recommending that its members working for The Associated Press refuse to do social media postings of their work for the wire service. According to a story on MediaPost, the members are being asked to silence their Facebook and Twitter feeds on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to pressure The AP management to move ahead with coming to a contract.
In that sense, this new strike tactic illustrates how social media can empower rank-and-file content-producers. While they are still producing content (which still belongs to the AP), the ability of individual reporters to build up their own online followings gives them a measure of control over the total audience size.
Forgoing social media distribution can also serve to bring their labor dispute to the attention of supporters, who might then exert pressure on the AP.
The social-media stoppage also has the advantage of putting pressure on management without breaking any rules or requiring an actual strike, which can do more harm than good. Union president Tony Winton told CNN: "We're trying to basically communicate through social media the unity of our group in trying to negotiate a fair contract with AP."

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