Today Mashable carried a posting that quoted Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, as postulating that the election of 2012 would be the “Twitter Election“. Even people who do not participate in Twitter will likely have seen articles regarding trends in Twitter topics on the elections as potential predictors for primary outcomes. Recently the TweetReach blog looked at the reach of candidate mentions during a debate and suggested that it could be a predictor of outcomes.
In fact, it is often that in mainstream media Twitter trends have become news – Twitter is not just a news medium, it is also news.
Don Costolo is correct, this will be the Twitter election – but Twitter has been significantly re-shaping journalism and the news market place since 2009 and the impact of those changes reach far beyond elections.
For example, most journalists are now on Twitter. The primary benefits for a journalist is obvious. It increases their exposure and therefore their influence considerably. Instead of being names behind a headline or talking heads on a screen or behind a microphone, they are now in a venue where they can interact and develop relationships. And instead of writing just one big story that gets printed or aired daily, they can report all day long on much more granular subjects or report in a continuous stream from a live event – such as an FDA Advisory Committee meeting.
What else has changed in journalism as a result of Twitter?
Last week I noted a high profile journalist who regularly reports the pharma beat issue a #PRFail via Twitter for the lag time between an FDA approval of a new compound and the issuance of a press release. Press releases are by no means over, but in the Twitterverse, things happen in real time. The minute something happens, the release needs to be there and tweeted.
And consider the media list. Today’s media list needs to include a reporter’s twitter feed, following and some way to measure influence such as a KLOUT score. Without that information, a media list is only partial.
Other ways Twitter may change our view of the media? Tweetreach itself is an interesting example. One can use it to measure the reach of a hashtag during a medical conference or to assess the baseline reach of a subject before and after a campaign. It is in these terms we need to be thinking about media today.
Think not that many reporters are on Twitter? Think again. In the media lists I’ve assembled lately where I’ve had this information included, I’ve also noted the date that reporters began their twitter feeds and what quickly became apparent was that in 2009, mainstream journalists, with few exceptions, migrated heavily into Twitter and began acquiring their followers.
Sometimes as change occurs, the strategic aspects of it slip by us. Make no mistake, however, in today’s market, particularly in healthcare, a Twitter strategy is an essential component of any media strategy.