It’s Called Social Media For a Reason

The Vancouver Sun has recently entered the Twittershpere. However, like The Globe and Mail and the CBC before them, they’re using Twitter as an RSS feed syndicator, a different way to take headlines and publish them to the web.

They’re broadcasting the news. Not micro blogging it, not interacting with readership, not sourcing stories. They’re simply taking the headlines from articles, that in a web world are more than 8 hours old, and broadcasting them via twitter.

Dan Misener made note of an item on a list of things that newspapers still don’t understand about new media:

Hey news executives! Try this newsroom pop quiz: Give each staff member a pencil and tell everyone to stop what they’re doing and write out the tag that creates a hypertext link. If most can’t, you’re not spending enough on training. If anyone in your management team can’t, you’ve got a crisis.

[From 10 reasons why newspapers won’t reinvent news]

That sums it up. Many old school media outlets are just using new media tools in the same way they used old media tools. They’re just trying to spread their message in a new medium, but that’s now how it works. It’s about conversation, it’s about sharing, it’s about communicating.

Not participating is a direct violation of what Gary Vee says about the best way to gain traffic on the internet. Communicate. Interact. Socialize.

MSM using Twitter and blogs is about trying to engage the public in the style of new media, but you’ve got to use the tools the way they’re meant to be used, otherwise you just end up shouting at a wall.

Traffic to a web page or blog on the internet is equal to readership of a newspaper. If you did traditional marketing and got no readers, it would be a failure. The way many MSM outlets are using the social web and not engaging people will result in no traffic and, an epic FAIL.

Marketing genius Seth Godin agrees.

Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set.

Today, of course, yelling doesn’t work so well.

What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they’d like to go. Connecting them to one another.

Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.

It’s so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But we’re not. Now we’re leaders.

People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.

[Seth Godin]

Mainstream media’s forays into twitter, facebook and blogs are frustrating. They are just using it as a different type of bullhorn.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

[NB This article was previously posted at cyberbuzz media. I’m moving that content to my permanent site and re-editing it]