Creative Series: Anthony Williams

A new feature on the blog featuring interviews of working professionals.

Interviewing Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic basketball player, at McDonalds and giving the inside scoop for the 2010 NBA All-Star all while updating Twitter is all in a days work for Anthony Williams.

Moxie Studios: Who are you?
Anthony Williams: Um, I’m Anthony. You know me. Anthony Williams.

MS: What do you do?
AW: I’m an online editor/producer for The Dallas Morning News sites and

MS: You use different sources of social media (The Dallas Morning News chat and live blogging, Twitter and Facebook) which outlet have you found to be the most useful in getting the word out?
AW: That’s kind of a tough question. Twitter’s more and more the rage right now, but there are a lot of people still not on it. I think Facebook may be the best base to use, because today it’s like e-mail – everyone has it, and most check it daily, if not several times a day. Twitter’s best for quick hits and does spread word fast through the network of people on it, who mostly happen to be people like myself that like to be the person telling their friends what’s going on.

MS: Which of those do you personally like the best?
AW: Again, each have their pluses and minuses. I’d say Twitter here because, from the get-go, people looked at Twitter from a media and professional standpoint. Facebook started out as a sort of virtual hangout/bulletin board/yearbook for college kids, and now everyone my age who got one at that time is steadily trying to rework their profiles and their content for our professional lives. And that’s not just in line with articles that have been written, saying that we have to clean up our act now that we’re grown. It’s that Facebook wasn’t about professional at the beginning. It was about as professional as those burn books passed around in high school. Twitter – for the most part – is seen for it’s “get the word out and network” approach. Looking back at your question now, I guess I’d say I like Facebook personally and Twitter personally for work.

MS: What do you have coming up at The Dallas Morning News?
AW: I’m mainly the event listings/database guy, so think of me as the person that is over the events calendar. I can do a lot of stuff, but the event listings are most important. We’ve been pushing for people to submit their events so that everyone can see them, and now we have to go through the large volume of submissions and approve them to go up. It get’s taxing during the holidays, and Valentine’s Day weekend, which also happens to be NBA All-Star weekend. Beyond that main objective, my boss wants me to go out and cover more events in person, tweeting from the scene and whatever else I can do, and putting my own voice out there with regards to restaurants and other entities listed on I hope to do the same, but as lame as it may sound, I’m still trying to work out a balance to the new tasks and old tasks me and my boss want done – editing listings and more structural work like posting staff stories and trying to frame things in print as best as possible online (like taking a beautiful double-truck package in the paper and figuring out how to present it on the Web site).

MS: How can someone use social media as a networking device?
AW: There are several ways. You can just use it when meeting people in person. Facebook and Twitter profiles are like e-mail addresses, or better yet they’re like virtual business cards because whoever you connect with using them is always there beside you, in a way. Also, you can use the network already there and take advantage of it. You see this sort of stuff with up-and-coming musicians, bloggers and others who randomly follow and friend request people just to get their name out there and build up their own audience. That’s why you have huge online personalities today like Perez Hilton who’ve blown up beyond the Internet, and politicians like Barack Obama who use social networking in their campaigns.

MS: How do you separate your work tweets from personal tweets or should you keep them the same?
AW: I myself had to create a Twitter profile for work and make my original one private. I wasn’t tweeting anything crazy, but the littlest – and I mean little – and basic statements will lead people to send your boss and e-mail. I’ve heard people discuss whether or not to use the word “boob” in a story, so sometimes it’s just a generational thing. But yes, I had to separate the two profiles, even though both have my name on them, only one has my job title and place of work attached. I use a Twitter application called Echofon, and it’s pretty easy to switch back and forth between those two, as well as some work Twitter profiles we have for certain areas of entertainment. I think it’s possible for people to have one Twitter, but depending on where you work or what you do, you’ll be censoring your self more than you may care for.

MS: What is the greatest news story you have covered?
AW: That’s an even harder question than the others, I can’t really choose a “greatest” story. To be honest, I feel like a lot of the stuff I’ve done was just OK – I loved it and all, but reasons I love this or that are personal and don’t necessarily have to do with their impact or “newsworthiness.” I still remember covering a standoff on my first internship with a reporter back in my hometown, as shots were still being fired close by, as well as being a part of President George W. Bush’s press corps and talking to young people getting tested for HIV. Maybe the most engrossing project was something I just did for fun that became a big deal. I wanted to blog when I was a Houston Chronicle intern, and the second season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” was going to air that summer. There just happened to be three crews from Houston that made the casting special, and one made it all the way to the final two. I did a weekly blog recap of the show, two stories on the competitors and their near-win, and a short video shot on a point-and-shoot camera that remained one of the Chronicle’s most-watched videos throughout the summer. I loved doing all that.

MS: Any advice for graduating seniors?
AW: Be patient. Try your hardest as everything winds down, apply for everything you can imagine – things you think you can do/get and those you don’t – and stay close to the friends and mentors you have. But I’d say most important is to have patience, because it’s hard out here for a pimp, haha. Seriously, though, I know people who got jobs before graduating, and those that are still looking for something along the lines of what they went to school for. I was very blessed to only have to wait about three months before getting this amazing opportunity.

MS: Anything you want to add?
AW: Remember that everything you put online will stay there, somewhere, for-eh-ver – although I do think, for our generation and those coming after us, this won’t mean as much because it’ll be a given. We’re the ones going through everything for the first time: cleaning up your Facebook pictures, trying to remove stupid and angry blogs you wrote when you were 14, and on and on. When our kids and grandkids have these issues, it won’t be as big a deal.
Ooh, also, don’t be afraid to take risks and do stuff you might not have planned/imagined/wanted. To an extent, it is all about who you know and who you talk to, and someone you talk to while reporting on brown corn in the desert could lead you to your real destiny