How long have you been in social media? How has the industry changed since you started out?
Jim Lucas: My first role out of university in 2009 was — as most journalism graduates do — to join my local newspaper. I went straight to work as a sports reporter, and as someone of a relatively young age, I found it quite frustrating that I could only publish work once a week, ultimately. For a weekly newspaper, which came out on a Thursday, to be covering football matches that were happening on a Saturday felt really strange to me — there's only so much you can say about a football match five or six days after it’s taken place.
We didn't have a massive web presence, and I worked to improve that, but the biggest thing that I really focused on in that first role was developing a social media presence for the newspaper, specifically for its coverage of the football team that it focused on. Twitter was just starting to emerge as a channel where journalists could communicate with an audience, promote their work, and crucially start to build a bit of a fan base.
In 2012, before I joined the Football Association in 2016, I moved to Southampton FC to work in their press office. Back in those days football clubs and organizations had a lot of people wearing a lot of different hats — that’s where the press officer, webmaster, and social media manager all converged at that point.
Describe your relationship with Twitter.
Jim Lucas: Since I've moved into organizations that have had more active channels themselves, I've probably been a bit less vocal on my own Twitter account, but my relationship is very obvious in the sense that it’s the first app I open in the morning, and it’s the last app I look at at night. It's my first source for any breaking news, and it's the first place I turn to for opinions.
Twitter is all about the conversation. How do you decide what conversations or replies to engage with?
Jim Lucas: I think there's there's no point engaging from a handle like Lionesses with detractors or people who aren't in some way part of our community. I'm not saying that we only engage with people who say nice things about us — we should always be prepared to get involved in constructive conversations — but for me, it's about doing a little bit of research into that person we're replying to, or that conversation we're about to join.
It’s a massively positive thing for me — to talk to people, to change people's perceptions. Generally and professionally, changing people's perceptions is one of my biggest motivators, and Twitter's a place where you can do that really quickly and really easily.
OK, quick-fire round.
Throwing friendly shade at other accounts: yea or nay?
Jim Lucas: I've gone back and forth on this across the course of my career, but I’d say yea, as long as it aligns to the tone of voice of your account, and you're willing to deal with the consequences of it, as it can backfire badly.
Including more than one hashtag: yea or nay?
Jim Lucas: Generally, my philosophy — if that’s not too ridiculous of a word to use about hashtags — is use them within the wording of your Tweet, don’t just slap them on the end in the hope of getting a bit more discoverability out of them.
Using emoji to replace words: yea or nay?
Jim Lucas: Again, it's a cop-out, but if it fits the tone of voice with your account then go for it, if it doesn't then don’t. For example, @Lionesses, yea. The @FA, nay.