Journalists using social networks for ‘shovelware’

September 10, 2009

Interesting article here on the potential of Twitter and the use – or misuse – of social networks by certain newspapers across the Pond. It appears that the majority of the American newspapers studied have been using the social media darling as a piece of ‘shovelware’, rather than engaging with the audience. They have been pointing their tweets to one place – their Home page.

Blimey, sounds like they’ve been following some of the British regionals’ tepid and shallow attempts on Twitter. I spotted a regional daily newspaper editor with a new Twitter account recently – and although I won’t name and shame him, the example illustrates superbly the mis-understanding of traditional media folk regarding social media.

This guy just doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ or maybe he hasn’t been given enough budget by the money men to spend a bit of time researching and understanding the site. The concept of giving quality content to enrich a community without payment is obviously an alien one to grasp. Wake up – and welcome to online publishing. This is how social networks thrive, buddy.

The daily newspaper editor is following nobody on Twitter. He has posted once in six weeks. He has closed the inbox message facility. So…he is on there for the sole reason of, well, being on there. No engagement. No interaction. No dialogue.

Erm…no point.

And what an insult for an educated, contemporary, media-savvy readership across a UK city to take on board.

One of the main concerns the newspaper number-crunchers in the UK have consistently demonstrated is not the quality of  content delivered online, but whether it can be churned out profitably, irrespective of the effect on intelligent readerships.

We all know that to win points on social media networks, you’ve got to give, give, give. And then give some more – hardly within the comfort zone of the majority of traditional British publishers. In the words of Hannibal, quid pro quo Clarisse.

My advice? If you can’t engage with the audience, don’t waste THEIR time by clogging up valuable social media space.

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2 Responses to “Journalists using social networks for ‘shovelware’”

  1. Word. I was completely aghast at Twitter when I first heard about it, but once you understand that sharing is caring (to quote my 5 year old nephew) – the whole thing becomes a whirlwind for information. Nice entry.

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