We journalists all love twitter. Its immediacy, the brevity of its messages and its interactivity make it a great way to find stories, to tell stories and to drive traffic back to our websites. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
But is it really connecting us with our readers, or is it an empty echo chamber where journalists gather to swap snippets of information that are irrelevant to anyone outside the media village?
This morning #ftmedia12 is trending. That must be great news for FT Global Conferences and Events, the people who organised the Financial Times Digital Media Conference 2012. In his keynote address, the FT CEO John Ridding announced that, “content revenues would soon exceed advertising revenues” and his words were dutifully re-tweeted, dozens of times.
But what do those words actually mean? Well, in simple terms, the company is making more money from organising conferences and charging you to read its articles and download its financial data than it is from charging companies to advertise on its website or in the newspaper.
This may, or may not, be a significant milestone in the history of journalism, media and advertising. However, is it the story every British reader will be discussing on the bus, or over a latte, or in the hairdressers? I think not.
It’s good to tweet, but as journalists we need to remember our audiences first and foremost. There is nothing more alienating than spending an evening at someone else’s office party and listening to all the insiders talking shop.