Why Doesn’t Twitter Matter to Gawker?

The much-blogged-about Gawker redesign is finally upon us, and we here at AllTwitter – like many in the Twitter-sphere and beyond – are scratching our heads about one specific design change: the lack of a Twiter button. There is no way to easily share Gawker content on Twitter now, thanks to the new “beyond the blog” design. So why this lack of love towards our favorite little microblogging service?

First, let’s take a tour of the newly redesigned Gawker.tv, one of the first in the Gawker media family to go live with the new look:

The main article is in the larger, left-hand column, while the right-hand column houses a list of the latest articles on Gawker.tv. Take a close look at the spot to the right of the headline of the article. Notice anything? Or rather, notice anything that’s not there?

Gawker has kept the Facebook button, but there are no other social media sharing buttons attached to the article – not even Twitter.

So why the snub?

The New York Observer was able to get Nick Denton, the founder of the Gawker network, to weigh in on why the company decided to cut itself off from all social media except for Facebook:

“We have Facebook,” Gawker CEO Nick Denton told The Observer by email. “That’s by far the biggest social source of traffic for us. These sites festooned with social media buttons—they look like primitive tribesmen clutching pathetically onto shiny baubles they believe to [be] the symbols of modernity.”

Denton is certainly taking a hard-line stance towards Facebook and against any social networks (and against sites that “cling” to them). But is that really a good idea for a media company, especially one which focuses on online content production?

Although we do have a vested interest in Twitter here at AllTwitter, we think it’s downright backwards not to have a “Tweet This!” or similar button on your blog, if you’re a company like Gawker. We understand that more traffic might be coming in from Facebook (significantly more, according to Denton), but that doesn’t mean that they can afford to alienate their Twitter followers.

By not having an easy way to share things on Twitter, Gawker is excluding itself from the exciting, real-time conversations happening on the microblogging service. Take a look at three sample responses about the new redesign:

The redesign itself is a daring move for Gawker, as it doesn’t conform to blog-type, magazine-type or news-type designs that users are used to seeing around the web. Add to this the lack of any real social media interactivity other than a Facebook button, and the above skepticism towards the new site isn’t really much of a surprise.

By excluding Twitter (and Stumble Upon) from their new redesign, Gawker is moving backwards. Twitter has seen tremendous growth over the past year, and it is the place for movers-and-shakers, influencers, and though-leaders to gather and share their content. Gawker is effectively snubbing this group and making it tough for them to share Gawker’s content – which, we think, might turn them off of the site altogether.