Monday, December 15, 2014

What’s the Point of a Twitter Scoop?

And, no I don’t mean “because they’re all mindless dribble.” I mean, what does it do for the person getting the scoop? What’s the advantage to all their hard work?

I remember a while ago Peter Abraham saying he didn’t know why news agencies were having their reporters report using Twitter. After all, why would they be paying someone to drive traffic to someone else’s website? So, when Ken Rosenthal tweets out a new contract, he’s encouraging me to go to twitter as often as I can. He’s not making me visit the Fox Sports website. His employer is getting no additional traffic because he’s tweeting out his scoops. So, why does he do it?

Remember the old days? When you got your news from newspapers? (Oh…so that’s why they’re called that!) They came out once, maybe twice a day. So, if you had a good reporter who out-scooped everyone else, people would buy your paper to read about it. The people you paid would directly influence your circulation. If they had the scoop, everyone would be forced to buy your paper, and only your paper, all day in order to read it. There was a clear advantage. If your reporters were known to give the best news, and have scoops most often, people might just gravitate to your paper by default. So, if people just assume that Gammons  is going to have all the scoops, just buy his paper. It’s easier that way. But, it’s not working like that anymore. Now, instead of going to FOX, or ESPN, or NESN, people go to twitter. All the details are right there. How does this help FOX? Can you imagine a headline reading: “Go read this other magazine to find out all the news!”? That would be suicide.

So, what’s the benefit?

Are they hoping that these scoops will mean more followers, and more followers mean that more people might click when they tweet out links to their articles? That might be their angle. Most of my tweets are links to different things on the blog. If I had more followers, it might mean more clicks, and more readers. But, I don’t follow Ken Rosenthal. I don’t follow Joel Sherman. Why not? Because if I followed them, I would get their scoops about 2 seconds earlier than I do now. With all the retweets and other forms of re-reporting, it would be even more cluttered if I actually bothered to follow the guy giving the scoop. So, it seems like these “inside” guys are going through a lot of effort to be the guy who first reports something two seconds before everyone else. Even if I did follow them, and got their direct scoop…it’d be about an hour before everyone else would be tweeting “I confirm Rosenthal’s report that…”That doesn’t encourage me to follow anyone. It certainly doesn’t make me more likely to go read anyone’s articles.

So, if Ken Rosenthal (or whichever 14-year old you trust the most) is the best shouldn’t he just rely on that? If I’m supposed to follow him because he always has the best most accurate information first, shouldn’t he be making me go to FOX Sports? Shouldn’t I have to constantly be checking their webpage in order to get the “real information” as soon as possible? If I knew I could only trust him, and he was always first, I shouldn’t need to go to twitter to find everything out. I should just be able to go to his website. Twitter should at best bring me to FOX’s website. That’s what I do. Hopefully twitter is a means to bring you right here. Once you’re here, hopefully I’ll convince you this should have been the place you went in the first place. At the moment, for everyone else it seems to be the other way around.

I’m not sure I see the point.

1 comment:

  1. Twitter scoops help reporters build their personal brands, which might make them more valuable to their current employers and would certainly be important when it's time to look for a new one (or start their own website.)

    I've never figured out why media organizations encourage it, unless it's just the fear that some other outlet's reporter will look like they had the news first.


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