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While I’m not suggesting that Wilson & Supa’s research is invalid, I’m curious to know how survey respondents defined “use” of Twitter.  In social media, the word “use” is almost as ambiguous as “engagement.”  What defines use?

Consider this example: A journalist skims his/her Twitter feed four times daily.  He/she never clicks on anything and never tweets.  However, he/she does pick up story ideas from PR tweets that he later follows up on.  Is he “using” Twitter for media relations?  I say yes.  However, I know journalists who say no.

Why would a journalist so narrowly define Twitter use?  Anecdotally, I think more traditional journalists are reluctant to admit to using a source that doesn’t have the fact-checking, editor-controlled aspects of the AP newswire.  Journalists would scan the AP wires looking for story ideas much like they now scan Twitter. I don’t think there’s much difference.  But those who started their careers before the Internet may feel differently about admitting that they use 40-character phrases to develop story ideas.

In addition, is there a perception that Twitter has become the new PR Newswire?  PR Newswire, while used by journalists, felt advertorial, in that it was biased and self-promoting.  As Wilson & Supa mentioned, there’s definitely a sense of that with Twitter, too, when it comes to media relations.  Are journalists reluctant to admit how much they use on Twitter as a result?

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