If you follow any mainstream media Twitter accounts on Twitter, when was the last time you received an @mention or @reply from one of them? If you answered never, you’re in the majority.
A new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project in Excellence in Journalism shows that mainstream media rarely uses Twitter to engage or share links from sources other than their own websites, instead preferring to tweet broadcast-like messages of the news of the day.
The study took a look at more than 3,600 tweets from 13 news organizations over the course of a week to determine how news outlets are using Twitter on average.
Of those 3,600 tweets, 93 percent linked to that news organization’s own website or content. One percent of the tweets linked to another news site, less than one percent linked to a non-news site, and six percent included no link at all.
The number of accounts that each organization has on Twitter varied wildly, with the Washington Post serving up 98 compared to the Daily Caller’s single account. The average number of accounts was 41, and the average number of tweets from these accounts totaled 33 per day.
Here are some other key takeaways from the study:
- Only 2 percent of tweets were information-gathering in nature, or seeking responses from readers, and only 1 percent were retweets from accounts other than the organization’s own.
- The top news promoted on Twitter closely matched the top stories on the news organization’s own legacy platforms.
- The most-followed journalists from each news organization tweeted in a pattern similar to their employer: only 3 percent of their tweets solicited information and 6 percent were retweets of accounts other than those associated with their news organization.
Judging from this snapshot study, it looks like the mainstream media isn’t using Twitter to engage their communities. Rather, they are using it as another method of sharing their own stories and growing their readership.
Do you think that they should focus more on engagement? Or is this the type of behavior you expect from traditional media on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.