I was meeting with a friend to discuss opportunities in social media, and the discussion turned to how media personalities in our local area are using Twitter and Facebook. It then occurred to both of us that each of these weather and news reporters are in a situation where all the hard work they have put into their Facebook and Twitter pages; not to mention blog and YouTube videos, can be revoked instantly when they decide to leave the company; or worse yet, when the TV, radio station or newspaper they are working for summarily fires them in the next round of budget cuts.

Why would you, as a media personality need their own social media presence (independent of where you work)? I can think of several reasons. First, you will always want to be getting your personal brand out there for the time you need to make a move. LinkedIn is great for that! What if you are a long time personality in a market and don’t feel like packing the U-Haul?

I’m going to give props and point out someone I worked with at a radio station and a TV station years ago. As a meteorologist for a major network affiliate, he was online with his own website when most people still were using dial-up to access the internet. He built his Facebook and Twitter following while doing both TV and radio work; and when the time came to leave the TV station, his content and followers were his own; not the TV station’s. Now he has expanded his brand and hit the ground running with several new projects, and his substantial social media following guaranteed at least an initial, ready-made audience.

I can’t help but think of a couple of examples of people who were let go from years-long positions who either had no social media presence, or the presence they had was owned by the station. A head start with a blog or video presence already established could certainly help in these uncertain circumstances. There are displaced former morning radio personalities having success with podcasts as well…even a TV show.

If you are on radio and TV, no one has to tell you that career development is entirely up to you. I would urge you to invest in the tools and have your own social media content available. Never let an employer control your destiny once you leave.

For an example of the social media presence I’m talking about, visit www.paulpoteet.com, or follow @paulpoteet on Twitter