Monday, December 24, 2018

Twitter-It’s A News Network | Lefsetz Letter

There are two kinds of people, those who check their Twitter feed incessantly and those who don’t. And those who do are newshounds.

Lumped in with Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter evolved into something completely different, and it’s running our country.

Forget all the people seeing Trump’s tweets, the news media is addicted, it disseminates anything of interest.

And that brings us back to followers. The numbers are inflated, not only by bots, but by dropouts. People are intrigued by Twitter and then abandon the service, they say it’s too hard to figure out, but the truth is it’s not providing what they’re looking for, amplification of their identity, attention. You can tweet and it’s like a tree falling in the forest, does anybody hear it? Usually not. Whereas if you post a pic on Instagram, people can ooh and ahh, theoretically you can sell advertising, theoretically get rich, but there’s no getting rich on Twitter, it’s all about information, have you got any?

Sure, famous people have huge followings. But you rarely hear about what they post because it’s only interesting to their acolytes.

But really, Twitter is where you link to stories, post facts, where news breaks.

The major media outlets are afraid of breaking news, unless it’s confirmed, they’re worried about their credibility. So their writers play on Twitter first. The “New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “The Wall Street Journal.” As for Fox, the TV station is mostly opinion, and it’s rarely off the cuff, it’s set in stone long before, then again, what is said can make it on to Twitter. As for Fox’s website, it’s full of minor stories, it’s more Facebook than news outlet, more “People” magazine than the “Economist.”

As for Facebook… That’s about family, it’s about sharing. As for advertising, the rules are such that unless you’re a hefty player, you can’t, because the service makes you pay too much to reach people. It’s easy to reach people on Twitter, assuming they’re following you and are reading, and those are two big assumptions. Meaning, if you’ve got a minor story, chances are it will not be heard, sorry.

As for news for the rest of us, never underestimate Apple’s News app, which has now made it to the desktop. It’s curated and better-looking and more easily used than Google News. But Apple has a tiny market share.

But Apple News is not interactive, like Twitter. You can play if you’d like.

But mostly, Twitter is where you graze and pick up stories, where you get the temperature of the country, where you find out what’s going on.

The 280 character limit increase made no difference. Because it turns out those complaining about restrictions were not regular tweeters. Twitter is not a game, it’s the heartbeat of America.


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