One of the culture shocks about going freelance is the fact most of the time it’s just me at the kitchen table, getting words down with only Mr Coffee for company.
As a staff journalist I relished the occasional chance to work from home, free from the distractions of the office, but do it every day and it starts to wear a bit thin.
Luckily I found a few online journalism communities – aside from the obvious Twitter – which have been great for those times when I need advice or simply a bit of banter.
Here are some of my favourite social media groups and Twitter chats for all journalists, whether you have an office to go to or not.
Journalists on Facebook
While Facebook still doesn’t work well for newsgathering in my opinion, the Journalists on Facebook Page is a great resource for industry news and best practice tips for using the platform. With 1.3 million fans, this is one of the most established journalism communities online.
LinkedIn for Journalists
An active community featuring advice and discussion points for journalists. Also hosts a regular free webinar covering how to get story leads, build sources and engage audiences on LinkedIn.
Started after RTÉ's recent MoJoCon in Dublin, this Facebook group is a space for anyone to ask questions and share ideas around mobile journalism. It also organises a fortnightly mojo meetup in Dublin.
A Google+ community founded by Storyful in 2013, Open Newsroom now has more than 1,100 members and focuses on verifying information from breaking news stories.
Another Google+ community, this time from Ezra Eeman, the man behind the popular @journalism2ls Twitter account. Launched this year, the group has a growing following of people sharing apps and tools suitable for journalists.
The No1 Freelance Ladies’ Buddy Agency
With more than 2,000 members, this Facebook group is a place for freelancers to get support and advice on case studies and experts for stories. All members are vetted to make sure they’re genuine journalists.
#journchat — Mondays at 8pm EST
One of the first news industry chats, #journchat was founded by PR expert Sarah Evans in 2008 and is open to journalists, bloggers and public relations folk.
#muckedup — Tuesdays at 8pm EST
Hosted by Muck Rack, this weekly chat has covered everything from social media and curation to diversity in the newsroom.
#DFMchat — Wednesdays at noon EST
The Digital First Media chat is hosted by Ivan Lajara, life editor at the Daily Freeman in New York. It covers topics such as open newsrooms, crowdsourcing and user-generated content.
#wjchat — Wednesdays at 8pm EST
Now in its fifth year, #wjchat was founded by Robert Hernandez after he joined #journchat and felt the journalists were outnumbered by PRs. The conversation focuses on technology, ethics and digital journalism in all its forms.
#APstylechat — monthly
Once or twice a month, Associated Press holds a Twitter chat where journalists can ask questions on grammar and writing style around a particular topic. Previous chats have been hosted by AP assistant sports editor Oskar Garcia and social media editor Eric Carvin. To see upcoming chats, click here.