Posted by Emily Krstulic
As I was browsing around the Internet, waiting for inspiration to strike for my next blog post, I stumbled across two really interesting
Journalistics blog posts which ranked the top U.S. newspapers according to the number of Facebook and Twitter followers they have. At first I started reading it just because I found it interesting. More than that, I find the idea of newspapers wanting people to “Like” their publication on Facebook absurd in general.
And the papers’ Facebook followings were large but not astonishing; the New York Times lead with 781, 655 followers at the time of publication. As of November 2nd, 2010, as I write this, that number is at 876,145. Like I said, high but not surprising. Then I read the Twitter statistics.
Just as the New York Times leads in Facebook followers, they also lead the pack in their number of followers on Twitter, with an astounding 2,668,948 followers at the time of publication, up to 2,712,865 today. As the Journalistic blog noted, that means that the New York Times has more followers on Twitter than they do in print circulation.
That blew my mind. We talk more and more in our classes about social media, mostly Twitter, and their emerging roles in the distribution and collection of news in our society that is constantly connected. I mean, I get that Twitter does a good job of disseminating information fast. I can log on and scroll through my feed and see the top links on CNN, KC Star and The Onion at any time.
But for a publication to be followed more on Twitter than in print circulation seems to defeat the purpose. At what point does marketing and promotion on social media sites become a disadvantage? I would argue now, as NY Times and other newspapers are continuing to use Twitter and Facebook to distribute their content for free.
Does anyone else find this really bizarre, or is it just me? Do you think that this use of social media is reasonable or harmful to these publications? And, just out of curiosity, do you consume news through these social media sites?