Why Buy The Publicist When You Can Get The PR For Free?

New YorkerSimon Owens picks up on an odd new trend in his post yesterday on MediaShift: fan blogs and fan twitter feeds.

Essentially: people who just looove a magazine to death are now putting a lot of time and effort into promoting that mag’s stuff online, for free.

Owens mentions @Vanityfairer, an anonymous 30-something writer who’s been Twittering since last year about her favorite VF content. There was speculation at one point that she was secretly a shill for the magazine, but VF has denied that they even know who she is. It seems like she really is just an honest, earnest fan.

Similar ventures include @Newyorkerest and Emdashes, both of which link to (and in Emdashes case, analyze/critique) the top content from The New Yorker.

This brings up an interesting dilemma. The content that these fans are creating is of clear value: @Vanityfairer has almost 3,000 followers and @newyorkerest boasts more than a thousand. But what motive does a magazine now have to leap into the Twitterverse if fans are doing it for them, for free?

To be fair, @vanityfairmag (VF’s official twitter feed) now has 8,000 followers. Perhaps, though, we’ll see a faceoff in the Twitterverse between the officially-sanctioned twit and the fan.