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Archive for October 25th, 2012

The next time you read the hosannas about the success of the New York Times paywall, remember these two three pieces:

  • Doc Searls’ detailed account of trying to find the actual cost of a Times digital subscription, a situation he describes as “bait and switch.”
  • Jeff Bercovici’s report on the “shockingly weak” advertising results of the Times’ print and digital products, causing a 60 percent drop in third-quarter operating profits.
  • Mathew Ingram’s analysis of the Times’ Q3 results, including the possible impact the paywall has had on ad revenue. (I added this third link after originally posting this.)

I admit that I might be wrong in my view that paywalls are a misguided strategy and that the Times is pursuing a backward-looking strategy. I admit that I don’t have all the answers about the right path to prosperity in digital journalism. But I know I am right about this: The Times doesn’t have this figured out either.

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Twitter is a lousy promotional tool. If you use it to promote an event, you probably will be disappointed. But it’s a great place for conversation. Start a conversation about your event on Twitter, and you should get some promotional value.

A friend planning a journalism event recently asked my advice about promoting the event on Twitter, because he doesn’t use Twitter much. I responded first with some general advice about getting a new Twitter account rolling.

Here I’m going to address the specific question about promoting the event.

I’m not saying my friend shouldn’t send out some promotional tweets. You should and they will help. Twitter should be part of your promotional toolbox. Send out promotional messages on Twitter, just as you do on your website, Facebook, email, snail mail and any other communication means you use.

But even before Twitter came along, one of your best means of communication was word of mouth. And Twitter is the modern word of mouth (or thumb perhaps) for many of its users. While Twitter users may be a minority of your target audience for most organizations, they are a talkative minority, and every promoter wants to be part of the conversation among talkative slices of your target audience. And in a journalism group, the Twitter use will be high because it is such an important tool for journalists. (more…)

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