The most recent edition of the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook includes many new entries, including several related to social media and networking. Among its most exciting changes, AP has decided to use “website” instead of “Web site,” though when referring to a shortened version of the World Wide Web, “Web” is still capitalized.
In addition, according to the AP press release, the 10th edition of the AP Stylebook has entries on the terms app, blogs, click-throughs, friend and unfriend, metadata, RSS, search engine optimization, smart phone, trending, widget, and wiki. Prior to releasing the new edition of the Stylebook, AP asked its website readers for suggestions on what should be included in a “new section to the AP Stylebook on new media and social media,” and respondents overwhelmingly recommended adopting the usage of “website.”
Such changes to the AP Stylebook are important for writers to note, as they signal a cementing of worldwide understanding of new media and the Internet. Because the AP Stylebook is used across the globe, its changes are more universal than those of, for example, the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA). These new entries signify that there is an obvious trend toward legitimizing social media and networking. It is now more important than ever to have a working knowledge of services like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, especially for news reporters.
In addition to the new entries in the AP Stylebook, there is also a section devoted to journalists which addresses proper use of social media as a reporting tool. With journalism icons like Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric tweeting regularly on Twitter, AP could no longer ignore the prevalence of social media in news reporting.
The AP’s changes reflect a larger movement to standardize the language of new media in the writing and publishing world. For those who frequently write or blog about social media and networking, these changes are likely to be welcome signposts in the frequently shifting landscape of technological development.
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