During the East West print hiatus, I was Deputy Director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. As trainers of business journalists throughout the country, we often focused on the realm of online reporting and social media, giving business reporters the tools and know-how to compete in the new media landscape. As a part of this effort, I wrote a column called Web Views. Its overwhelming theme? I am so over Twitter.
More than once, I discussed how I was a Twitter early adopter, joining the service in 2007. And I often lamented the media’s sole obsession with regurgitating content and getting on Twitter and Facebook. I argued that we need to include these tools, but they aren’t by any means the answer to the problems facing media today. The media in general needs to stop following, and instead, be early adopters and originators. Sure, you can tweet, but what is next? And does tweeting really help your brand? Have you studied its worth to your company and for your audience?
But when it was time to relaunch East West, I somehow forgot my own argument and was caught up in the frenzy. I became a bit obsessive, putting all my focus on Facebook and Twitter outreach and ignoring other channels.
But according to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project only roughly 19% of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. Round that to 20% and it still doesn’t warrant 100% of our marketing attention. This figure woke me up as did a tactic we tried on social media sites a couple weeks ago. Free Trial Tuesday for fans of Facebook was by all accounts a bust. The promotion only pulled in 12 new users. We already get an average of 10 new sign-ups per day on our Web site without any special promotions or effort (e-newsletter signups).
So I am back to being cautious. I am back to diversfying my efforts and testing out new, unknown tools. Nonetheless, I will tweet about this post the minute I hit publish.