Public Twitter = Public Money for Journalists?

3 Oct

It was only a matter of time until Twitter really became in-it-for-the-money. The question arises: can Twitter journos hitch a ride on the money wagon?

Merit in 140 characters?

US Financial analysts (those beacons of foresight, ahem, housing bubble) have all but guaranteed that one inevitable repercussion of Twitter’s floating on the securities exchange is going to spell the end for the ultra- short aspect of users’ messages on the site. To satisfy the incoming companies who are going to be advertising, they’re going to need a bigger boat, or at least a bigger character limit. Probably, no character limit. In a mildly ironic twist, Twitter might have to go full circle to keep itself alive, even though it seems to be doing perfectly well as it is. What started out as the shouting box for the mundanities of celebrity life has morphed into the content curation behemoth of our times. No longer do we just look out for what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast. We get taught how to use it at journalism school. We are physically made (kind of) to follow politicians and reporters.

KK

It is now the instantaneous news delivery system. And what made it so viable in that paradigm was, paradoxically, its brevity. Several lecturers in our Online Journalism class this semester – Natalie Bochenski, Marissa Calligeros and Spencer Howson – have all affirmed how the rapid fire, constant buzz that is the Twittersphere has made news updates infinitely more accessible and widely consumed. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t directly made us any money yet.

Is that about to change?

Twitter has 218 million active users. Now, it is following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, with an initial public offering (IPO), in which it intends to raise US$1bn. The only way they’re going to make a profit in 2013 is with ads. It’s impossible to say at this stage how successful they’re going to be in the venture, and it is likely they will share the problem journalism has had for a few years now: monetising their user base. They’re faring much worse than Facebook at the same phase of their time of publication.

The journalism/ twitter relationship is getting stronger by the day. More of the old oligarchy are signing on, and it is opening up at least ten entirely new avenues to make news better. I’ve previously discussed crowdsourcing; that’s one of them. In this writer’s humble opinion, something like Twitter can easily be a pilot for the new models of monetised journalism that will lead us out of the mire into the inevitable new golden age. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but it’s a certain thing that Twitter and reporting are really one and the same nowadays.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: