Here comes some news about news sources and how they are related to the trendiest news source, Twitter. According to an article
published by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “Twitter
appears at this point to play a relatively small role in sharing of links to news sources.”
I think Twitter in and of itself has been the link to certain breaking news stories, not a “forwarding service” for online news associated with traditional brands or even popular online outlets like the Huffington Post
Here are some thoughts when you look at the mix of media outlets:
- Hello, Twitter is a News Brand: Sure, any traditional news outlets can put links to their stories on Twitter with the hopes that they’ll get some new readers. However, if I care about what the Drudge Report says or The Smoking Gun, I’ll be checking out their breaking news directly. So, I think the numbers in the Pew Center’s article don’t show anything beyond the obvious.
- Size Matters: The Pew Report states, “Twitter’s user base is far smaller than such sources as Google or Facebook.” In my mind, this point of their research is a non-starter. Twitter has 175 million accounts, Facebook has 600 million. And when did you see the founder of Twitter on the cover of Time magazine? Besides, that’s what Google does; it is a search engine to point people to the news that they are searching for. Where’s the exciting research here, Mr. Pew?
- The Core of Apples and Oranges Comparison: Or better yet, comparing beverages like Coca Cola with Fuel. One is a traditional drink that continues to work its way through new marketing channels, the other is a newer kid on the block that wants to break in. By the way, the Twitter account for Fuel only has 228 followers and, as of my post, has not posted a Tweet since last November (maybe they need to take their own medicine and get a jolt to update their Twitter account).
Look, social media is still the Wild West. If you don’t believe me, check out http://www.namechk.com/ to see the 159 places where you can register your user name besides LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Some time ago back in my wild youth, I found myself getting drunk three nights a week. What was the cause? Too much alcohol. A pretty simple cause and effect equation. Good news. I don’t drink anymore (and if you want to know the story of how that happened, drop me a line at email@example.com. Bad news, I’m finding some alcoholics on Twitter.
Recently, I’ve been looking at http://twitaholic.com/. It’s amazing what it tells you about Twitter accounts and their followers. For example, as of this post, Lady Gaga has more followers than President Obama. Ellen DeGeneres is more popular than Oprah Winfrey. CNN is not even in the top 10 anymore after the well-publicized challenge that Ashton Kutcher against the news network.
I connected with someone who has one of the top 1,000 Twitter accounts in the world (based on followers). This person was asking me for public relations help. and was frustrated that this top Twitter account was not helping their business development efforts. While I’d love to help this person, I’m beginning to see a trend with people involved in Twitter that somewhat resembles drunken behavior: Followers/following for the sake of followers/following.
I do understand the value of Twitter, especially for consumer products and services that want to get the word out about a special or limited time offer, but for the business-to-business community I see people getting “drunk” with following and being followed for no strategic reason. The fact is that unless you are giving away something free to consumers, it’s often a poor tactic for finding new business.
Look, I’ve read the blog posts of social media experts and I respect the value of Twitter for business to business client development. However, quality will always trump quantity. Why? Because relationships mean connections, not just some clever 140 character posts. How often does the average business have the type of breaking news like a plane going down in the Hudson River to justify their followers attention?
The laugh for me is that so many people are getting “drunk” on Twitter because they feel they have to join in. However, few people have more than a couple hundred contacts that they can stay in touch with in any meaningful way. Why do they need to keep signing up for platforms beyond Facebook or even a simple email group?
While I see the value of instant communications channels, I see much more of the garbage of businesses jumping on Twitter’s bus with a DUI driver.