Twitter is not an exercise in narcissism

by Jason Preston on November 5, 2008

Scott Karp recently made a very good point about Twitter: it is not just a forum for self-promotion. The newsrooms that are using Twitter to simply broadcast their stories are not seeing success, mostly because there’s little or no value to a follower.

Karp argues that more newsroom Twitter accounts should act like Jay Rosen and tweet interesting links, regardless of whether or not those links are yours.

Readers will see the value and follow your Tweets. I’d rather have 1,000 people getting my links along with other links than have 15 people getting only my links. Wouldn’t you?


1 Liz Colville 11.05.08 at 3:09 pm

Using Twitter as short-form link journalism is a great idea; the only tricky part is making sure you still stick to your publication’s voice. It’s great getting tweets from CNN, Talking Points Memo, et al, because it’s faster than e-mail and of course faster than checking out the sites every couple of hours. RSS’d or humanized, Twitter is great. But yes, better some combination of the two.

2 Jason Preston 11.07.08 at 10:03 am

Liz – The way I use Twitter, I don’t particularly mind auto-tweet bots. I think that if CNN wants to have a breaking news twitter, that’s awesome. I’ll follow it if I want to and I don’t have to “read” every tweet.

If you’re after me, a bot will work some of the time.

Other people are obsessed with reading every tweet, and so they keep their list down to 100 or so people and don’t follow bots. If you’re after them, any mechanization is probably fatal.

3 Bill Shander 11.23.08 at 4:36 pm

Here is a great place to see how narcissistic Twitter is (or isn’t) – – it’s an ongoing filter of the public Twitter feed – so every 7.5 seconds, a new Tweet appears. It’s an interesting ongoing view of the Twitter world – you see everything, from the banal to the interesting, from self-promotion to poetry. It’s worth 90 seconds (and revisiting at different times of day to see the languages and character sets from around the world as the time zones shift.)

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