OK, so first off, I'll admit it. I read Time and Newsweek. There are times when I find their articles intriguing, educational or provocative.
But this week, Newsweek was off the mark in a really grand way.
In their recent "The New Global Elite" issue (dated January 5th) they ran an article comparing Ink Versus Influence. What struck me the hardest was their Twitter Versus Newspapers comparison. To quote -
The dumbest innovation of the century? Memo to tweeters: we don't care what you think.
Yes, print is troubled and some urban dailys are doomed. Still, on a screen or on dead trees, nothing shapes the conversation like facts.
Firstly, I searched Newsweek.com, this article isn't even on the web. Irony...
Secondly, I can't help but wonder what this factoid is hoping to convey?
(a) That twitter is overhyped by people and/or bloggers?
(b) That twitter is misunderstood?
(c) That the mainstream news is overhyping or over-covering this growing platform?
A quick search of Newsweek.com reveals no less than 52 results, 45 of them in the past year alone. So I guess they were at least partially responsible for throwing Ink at this "dumb innovation".
Furthermore, their second is assertion is that Newspapers contain... facts, while Twitter contains... something else.
Are newspapers factual? Non-partisan? Fair and balanced?
During the recent Intifada, the NY Times ran a picture my neighbor from Long Island, a kid I went to school with, on their front cover, reporting that he was an Arab teen fleeing the Israeli Police who had beaten him bloody. In reality, he was a Jewish American student studying abroad who was beaten beyond recognition by an Arab mob in the days before Yom Kippur.
Sure, newspapers are held to a higher standard than rumor-rich social media. But twitter is not a fad anymore than speaking with one another. Twitter may or may not be the next big thing (though the numbers do look promising). But it is a rich platform, and one I wouldn't be as quick to dismiss.
So is Twitter an irrelevant, over-hyped fad? Not today it isn't. I'm content with the fact that millions of people are talking. CNN and Fox News a regularly reporting on Twitter buzz and rumors (as is Newsweek). Brands are turning profits, direct ROI, via Twitter. I have met hundreds of interesting people on Twitter, and continue to do so on a regular basis. I have been recruited through twitter, I have recruited others via Twitter, I communicate with friends, family, clients, partners, vendors and startups on Twitter. This isn't to say that Twitter is an evergreen platform. But I wouldn't label them the dumbest innovation of the century.
So Newsweek, even if you believe Twitter is over-hyped, why would you turn your back on an open marketing channel, on millions of conversationalists? What do they stand to gain?
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disclaimer: I'm generaly a fan of Newsweek and will continue to read this publication. I agree that Twitter is overhyped and misunderstood, I'm just not ready to write it off. And anyone who is, is clearly missing the core values of information flow in the digital dynamic. Let's hope this was the lone view of one contributor and not representative of a broader company perspective. On that note, the views represented in this post are solely my own and not of my employer or their parent company.