Media organizations and Twitter: Not yet a perfect match

Home Media organizations and Twitter: Not yet a perfect match

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs collaborated on a study on how media organizations use Twitter as it became a regular and significant part of the daily news. Over 3.600 tweets in one week were examined and it became clear that 93% mainly use Twitter to promote own articles and news stories by directing their followers to the website.

Potential witnesses

Only 2% of the tweets from the main news feed were used to gather information from potential witnesses. It is quite remarkable that health reporters solicited the double amount of information (6%) instead of other journalists (3%). A poor 1% are “retweets†that came from outside the organization.

Fox News was the only organization, who regularly uses twitter to gain information, about 21%. Still, it is unknown whether or not they make actively use of the feedback. Nevertheless, it is clear that Fox News has a whole different Twitter Strategy.

Little Use of Main Twitter Feed as a Reporting Tool

It is obvious that the major national newspapers tend to be more active on Twitter: The Washington post for example, tweeted 664 times over the course of one week, which is much more than average. Cable news channels post the least tweets, as you can see in the graph below.

A wide range of Activity on the Main Twitter Feed

The use of Hashtags

There was a significant variation in the use of hashtags. 57% of the tweets of The Daily Caller contained at least one hashtag. Although hashtags aren’t that popular in the Twitter stream of media organizations, it might be interesting for them to use them anyway. In doing so, you can link the content of your tweet to a larger, ongoing conversation about that particular topic and increase your number of followers.

Use of hashtags PEW