Last week, when reading Ben Smith’s newsletter, I came across a graphic based on a poll conducted by MuckRack. It showed that media folks weren’t pulling back from Twitter despite much handwriting and mock outrage, just as they didn’t move away from Facebook. The switch to Mastadon made for a grand narrative, but like most of the stuff on Twitter, it was great marketing. When I pointed out this hypocrisy, Anil Dash (an early blogger and early Twitter user rightly noted that the “prestige media won’t go to the fediverse for another 2 years, same lag where they didn’t think Twitter existed until after Ashton Kutcher legitimized it.”
“They would rather cover Musk talking about things that he not only won’t do, but couldn’t do, than actual new tech made by real people,” Dash added. “They love failure by tycoons a lot more than success from regular people.” The argument made by Dash was so exemplary that Ben got a little defensive. A week later, in his newsletter, he linked Casey Newton’s piece, arguing that they have to cover Musk’s chaos. I see it differently. Twitter following accords media people’s self-relevance and allows them to be part of the news cycle theater. Or as Newton puts it: “…journalists who have come to rely on it, there is almost no indignity they won’t suffer to get their fix.”
And why blame just journalists? The addiction to the idea of an audience and its attention, however fleeting it might be, is hard to shake.
April 9, 2023. San Francisco
3 thoughts on “Why Media Can’t Quit Twitter”
Indeed. It is kind of sad to root for brands and celebrities to do the right thing here with Twitter. Sad to see some marketing departments and some Hollywood agent being more reasonable than publishers or politicians.
I don’t think it is sad, in today’s world, marketing trumps everything, and no one wants to give up on their audience.
I found this pretty insightful with respect to modern journalism’s addiction to Twitter:
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