Election Day Game Plan on Social Media: Share Carefully

Our general strategy is to take the best of what will be on-platform for The Times and share it off-platform. That means we’ll have editors working on capturing and sharing what our journalists are seeing on the ground across the country in addition to sharing our live results, race calls and analysis as they happen.

DUBENKO We’ll be sure to promote some counterprogramming during the day — give people something to read, watch or listen to as they wait for results. Once the results start to roll in, however, you likely won’t see much non-election news on our social feeds.

In case Election Day becomes Election Week or — shudder — Election Month, we’ve staggered our staffing. I expect this election cycle to be a marathon of news, not a sprint, and to that end, we’re spreading folks out.

What are your traffic expectations for Election Day?

DUBENKO Readers have come to rely on us for accurate, easy-to-understand results. And I anticipate that these will be a big draw from across all platforms. I think Wednesday will also be a big day, particularly if we don’t have a clear winner by Tuesday night. Our live coverage always draws a big readership, but the folks who come in to get the digest the next morning are often more numerous.

Many Americans will learn of the election results on social media. Talk about balancing speed with accuracy.

DUBENKO Speed matters on social, and if we feel confident in a call, we’ll do everything we can to get out the news quickly. Social media — particularly Twitter — can put pressure on newsrooms to get things out quickly, sometimes at the expense of accuracy. When it comes to state calls and results, everyone at The Times agrees it’s more important to be right than to be first. We’re going to approach calls very, very carefully, and be extra careful not to editorialize about what one state means for the entire election.

The key will be to provide readers on Twitter and Facebook — where emotions, editorialization and speculation run rampant — some very solid set of facts, a shared reality, I hope, by which we can interpret events. What we do on social media is a distillation of what readers get in our coverage on-site: fair and factual.