Social Media: Keeping up with the “Times?”

Apparently there isn’t a lot of news that’s fit to Tweet.

Once again, Buzzfeed has taken the opportunity to slight The New York Times’ lack of social media acumen and fervor to join Twitter. While I don’t think defining your importance by Twitter followers is a worthwhile exercise, Buzzfeed does reveal a chasm between Times’ personnel and social media.

Charlie Warzel, tech editor at Buzzfeed, composed a “Times’ Twitter Graveyard” of NYT editorial staffers’ accounts that:

  • Haven’t tweeted in a little over two months.
  • Have fewer than 20 total tweets.
  • Have an egg as its profile picture. “No egg was spared.”

The list of over 50 accounts includes executive editor Dean Baquet, senior editor for strategy A.G. Sulzberger and deputy executive editor Susan Chira. Although the impromptu index is striking, it shouldn’t be a damning indictment of questionable journalism, but rather a sign of where many outlets are placing the majority of their efforts.

Gautham Nagesh, a tech policy and FCC reporter for The Wall Street Journal, raises this very point:

Although there aren’t many engagement figures that are more widely used, large quantities of Twitter followers are hardly a tell-all statistic. With over 697 million inactive accounts out of 938 million total as of February 2014, followers are an increasingly misguided statistic.

Where I do contend with Nagesh, however, is on the allusion that active Twitter engagement – not just passive following – between outlets and the public is also nearly superfluous. Twitter is the most efficient route to discourse with the blogger, journalist, etc. available.

I don’t know too many journalists who are excited to wade through seas of inflamed comments tacked on to their opinion pieces. Their Twitter mentions may not be much tamer, but at least they can block the trolls.

I hope Buzzfeed’s expose on The Grey Lady’s social media voyage – or lack thereof – will encourage some staffers to take another stab at learning from the organizations leaked innovation report. If for nothing else, but to spite the new kid pestering the legacy giant.

At the very least, chuck those damn rotten eggs.

Image courtesy of watcharakun at

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