If you’ve picked up a newspaper lately – especially a local one -you might notice that it’s a little on the thin side. Newspapers have been hit hard with the advent of digital media, and it’s only the big ones that have recently begun to adapt by erecting paywalls for their digital content. Part of the reason is that services like Twitter report the news first, but an even bigger chunk of newspapers’ business could be captured by Twitter and eventually make them all but obsolete.
Celebrities have been using Twitter to announce pregnancies, baby genders and births for years now. Sports stars like Christiano Ronaldo and TV actresses like Alyssa Milano have turned to Twitter over traditional birth announcements to share their happy news with the world.
One of the mainstays of every local paper are the birth and death announcements. However, traditional newspapers don’t let you interact with the people reading the announcement, nor do they let you expand on it in any way. On Twitter, you can have a conversation with your followers about your new bundle of joy, or share all the details of his or her little blue eyes and tiny fingernails.
Celebrities have a reason to use Twitter over a newspaper to announce their pregnancies and births – the publicity. With sometimes millions of followers, celeb tweets get spread around faster than if they had spoken to a reporter at People Magazine or taken out an ad in a local paper.
However, regular folk may have an incentive to turn to Twitter over newspapers too. If their followers are friends and family, their birth announcement will be able to reach their far-flung relatives around the globe faster than Aunt Sue reading it in the paper and calling all of the cousins one-by-one.
Classified ads are traditionally short snippets including a description of a product or service and a contact number. What else is Twitter more perfectly positioned to take over from newspapers, if it isn’t these less-than-140-character sales pitches?
If you’ve got something to sell, crowdsourcing it out to your Twitter followers might be more effective than taking out a traditional classified ad. Why? Because you’ll be reaching people who are following you and who are interested in what you have to say.
In order for Twitter to truly act as a classified ad platform, there would have to be an app or at least a hashtag that filters in/out the classifieds from the rest of Twitter. No one wants to see their feed filled with ads (as illustrated by the “Dickbar” fiasco). But there is potential for an app to leverage people’s geolocation on Twitter and connect them to other locals who are interested in browsing the “Twit-lassified” ads.
Editorials and Opinions
While Quora might give Twitter a run for its money, there’s no doubt that Twitter is a ridiculously opinionated community. Everyone enjoys adding their snippet of insight into shared links, images, or the hashtags of the day.
Newspapers offer up in-depth commentary in their editorial section from experts that you really can’t get anywhere else, but Twitter might become the go-to source for quick insight. And, given the amount of information-overload and the shorter attention spans we’re all facing these days, Twitter might just become the preferred place to seek out editorial content over the newspapers’ longer format.