NYT Explores Twitter Search Products

NEW YORK The New York Times Co. has big plans for Twitter.

The venerable news organization is exploring plans to build search products that can sift through thousands of Twitter feeds and pull together commentary on specific topics. According to Martin Nisenholtz, svp of digital operations at NYT Co., the company has built such a product for its popular fashion-themed blog The Moment, which aggregates Twitter commentary from both editors and readers related to the high-end fashion world.

To date, The Moment has built an audience of over 1.2 million followers on Twitter, due in part to the popularity of the tool. According to Nisenholtz, in a keynote address on Monday at the OMMA conference in New York, the organization has a unique opportunity to serve in a prominent intermediary role on Twitter — as part guide and part editor.

“If you go out and search Twitter, it doesn’t work very well,” he said. “It’s very literal.” But if the Times can build multiple search products for Twitter that better understand context, there is a lot of power in organizing and curating this world.” Therefore, the company is looking into building similar Twitter aggregators for “thousands of categories,” he said.

Beside niche content, the Times’ core Web site is also enjoying a Twitter-driven traffic boost, reported Nisenholtz. NYTimes.com is adding roughly 15,000 followers each week. “It’s a big deal,” he said.

Facebook is also driving traffic. The Times has accumulated about 500,000 followers since building a presence on the site in 2007. And that audience is also helping gradually broaden the overall demographics, said Nisenholtz. Unlike NYTimes.com, the Times’ Facebook following is predominantly female, and 80 percent of it is under the age of 35.

Nielsen Business Media