When you visit Jay Fonseca‘s website, the first thing you see is this slogan on the top: “Solutions for the Future of Puerto Rico.” Fonseca, a young radio host, political analyst, lawyer, and journalist is committed to working towards a better Puerto Rico. Through his participation on major news television and radio stations, as well as his contributions to a local newspaper, Primera Hora, he reinforces his mission.
Rather than just informing, Jay explains, discusses, analyzes, gives ideas, and offer solutions using a simple, casual, colloquial language. However, he has accomplished something important through the use of social media: a younger crowd is becoming interested in what’s going on in Puerto Rico. Not only that, they’re actively participating with Jay in the discussion on issues like economics and politics. This, in my opinion, enhances his journalism through the use of social media. Out of all the local journalists I found on social media, he is the one with the highest amount of followers and engagement.
Jay is very active in his social media accounts, specifically on Facebook and Twitter, to keep his audience informed about the latest news related to politics and economics, as well as to provide his take on current issues. Just recently he began to use Periscope. What does he do to keep an engaged audience? What is his recipe for success on social media? Let’s take a look at Facebook and Periscope:
Facebook: “Puerto Rico should be a paradise, but we don’t cooperate so much” This is the short description of his page. I would say this is the platform in which he is more active. His fan base here consists of 632,000 people. Below are three of the multiple elements he uses on this page:
1. Content curation: Most of this type of content is about Puerto Rico or about issues related to those affecting us. Here is an example:
Translation of the post text: THINGS GET WORSE FOR ARGENTINA…BY FAR- Argentina owed 1.7 billion. Now it’s 5.4 billion, including the amount recently added…
My take: The key to success in these types of posts stems from his ability to provide a very concise, yet clear summary of the “big picture” of the story, enough to get some attention. In the example above, by providing a summary, he is making sure that an audience that doesn’t speak English gets a glimpse of the story. But there is also something about the wording of his posts that makes people feel relatable to what he is saying; there is something Jay knows about how to ignite discussion because people begin to react almost immediately. Puerto Rico’s debt is very high too. It’s a sensitive issue right now, so people respond.
2. Long, text-based posts expressing his opinion, never afraid of speaking his mind: Before I became one of Jay Fonseca’s Facebook fan, I was not a fan of these types of posts. People don’t read, I thought. But then I came to understand that what he is doing is taking issues that seem complex and making them understandable with his easy to follow explanation, use of colloquial, informal, everyday language, grawlixes to represent and….CAPS to highlight the takeaways. I really like these posts because most of the times he sounds so desperate that you get he is committed to finding those solutions for Puerto Rico’s problems.
Translation (partial): THIS IS WHY WE’RE FU%*@#- Victor Suarez, Chief of Staff, said: “This administration has reduced the cost per kilowatt hour by 30%.” DAMN IT. It was not this f#@% administration ! It went down because the world market prices of petroleum decreased in the market, thus the cost for the local power authority decreased.
My take: As I mentioned above, he speaks like that because he is genuinely desperate, while he questions why people should trust this administration. With his analysis, he brings this perspective. Is he throwing curveballs? Probably. He provides facts, he puts the information out there so his audience jumps into conclusions. But because he does it with controversial issues, he gets people agitated enough to begin voicing their opinion, either to agree or disagree; to become an echo of how he feels by sharing his posts on social media.
3. Showing his human side: He is on radio, television and he writes for a local newspaper. While we see him moving from one place to another during the day, we must not forget he is human. He goes to the beach and watches sports games…and he makes us aware about that on social too! Here he is showing his support for cancer patients by joining the Da Vida annual walk:
And he finds time to share what book he is reading:
Translation: Regarding my job, yesterday I had to put this book aside to read the whole IVA project document. Today I can do just the opposite. Talk to you soon.
My take: Finding some time to share with others that you do normal, everyday stuff, not only serves as a positive distraction from the hectic, hard news and analysis, but also lets your audience connect with you at a personal level. This is something that’s not possible to do on television and radio, where there is time and other constraints.
Periscope: Jay started to use Periscope recently to give his audience a special, VIP, insiders, backstage pass to his television and radio broadcasts. We now have access to what happens before, during and after his intervention on television. We see how the producers told him how many seconds are left until he goes live.
Regarding his radio show, it’s even more interesting because we get to listen to these shows; we never get to see what hosts do, how they’re dressed, if they check their phones while they are on air, and their facial expressions and reactions. Jay is using this new app to enhance his experience by taking his audience with him to places they didn’t have access before. This is a screenshot of this afternoon’s radio show:
My take: Even though the effect is different when you see the live stream, I’m pretty sure you can imagine how much it’s possible to see now. There’s also something different and that is that before each broadcasts he looks at the phone camera and says what will happen after: “We’re going live at…” It’s a journey.
I would like to conclude by saying that Jay’s use of social media is an extension of the work he does that allows him to fill in those spaces in which he does not have a time constraint or a defined schedule. He speaks his mind, that’s true, but that’s probably one of the factors for his success on Facebook, evidenced by high engagement from a younger crowd: as young as university students and beyond. His content strategy and use of language, I would say, are two areas he clearly knows how to use in order to get where he is on social: someone with a lot of influence on public opinion.