Thursday, 6 November 2008

Coming round to twitter

One of the mindsets of the mass media is that we do not understand "small" very well.

Our magazines are geared around substantial (if targeted) circulations and we send the same messages to all of them; our websites are optimised to attract as much traffic as possible.

And, if the truth be told, some of our attempts to introduce "community" have been hindered by our tendency to look for big numbers by using traditionally successful tools such as mass marketing emails.

We currently have the luxury of having three Community Editors who do not yet have communities to run, by which I mean they do not have community sections on their websites.

Together we have been developing what we're grandly calling a "social media outreach programme" which really means becoming part of the communities already out there and linking up with the (relatively few) people in their markets who are already hooked in to the whole social media thing.

It has been a very instructive exercise and the response so far has been positive. Twitter accounts have been set up by Computer Weekly and Contract Journal, both of whom have managed to achieve a tone and a restraint which are alien to our traditional publishing. CJ was even spontaneously applauded by one follower for not making the same mistake as its rival and twittering every article it publishes.

They have relatively few followers compared to the big boys but they are the right people. We've got a few other plans up our sleeves in a similar vein and I'm actually rather optimistic about our ability to think small.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you raise an interesting point.
It's long been a contention of mine that micro-journalism will be the saviour of the industry.
People increasingly feel that they cannot influence central government or large corporations (see the latest bank fiasco as an example, or the Iraq war), therefore an ability to concentrate on local issues and feeling you have an impact is important.
The news agenda is predominantly national and decided for people by journalists, which I feel is a major reason why national newspaper sales have declined. It's not just the internet that's killing print.
Conversely, local newspaper sales have not been hit so hard, so the hint is there for the majors - scale down and affect our back yard first.
If a publication highlights that my local council is charging me for collecting refuse for instance, which I pay for anyway, and then help me get something done about it, I might be more disposed to what you have to say about Obama.
The little things affect me now - Obama doesn't.
Until the big boys get this inside their heads, they will continue to lose customers to a disparate bunch of websites and publications.
Good work and good luck with your project.