David Pogue doesn’t care what you think.
Actually, that’s false. Pogue, tech columnist for the New York Times and ever-more-omnipresent TV guy, does care what you, his readers, think. And he’s constantly asking via his account on Twitter. But according to a new study by the Pew Research Center published at journalism.org, he’s very much in the minority.
Kudos to Dave Pogue. One of the most visible (and with over 1.4 million followers, measurably popular) journalists around, David Pogue was upset when I wrote a couple of years back that he had lost his way. I mean, genuinely upset. I’ve had an arm’s-length relationship with Dave for quite a while borne of my two terms as President of The Computer Press Association, but we’re not in close enough touch that you’d think he would have noticed that article, let alone comment on it.
I’m similarly impressed with TNT’s David Aldridge, who although I believe was wrong to publish this article at NBA.COM was on top of his game in noticing my critique (Aldridge and I had never spoken before).
Maybe it’s the name. Any other Journalistic Daves paying attention out there?
But as this easier-to-digest analysis of the Pew study shows, in general and by a very wide margin journalists aren’t using Twitter or other social networking platforms to engage; they’re just talking at you. In short, unlike David Pogue and David Aldridge, most journalists—and let’s face it, most people—don’t care what you think.
For many reasons, that’s completely reasonable. I find it endlessly amusing that people throwing the details of their lives against the hopelessly cluttered bulletin board that is Twitter, or at Facebook, think anyone is listening. Of course, if you break it down to a pure numbers game, maybe that doesn’t matter; if a thousand people are following you and when you send out a message five notice, something is going to happen, right? Social Media IS creating business change, even if it’s in tiny increments.
But what the Pew study shows pretty clearly is that the bigger guy is rarely really listening to the littler guy. And journalists think they’re bigger than the rest of us.
And of course, they are.
The question goes back to who qualifies as a “journalist”. I state regularly that even though I’ve been a journalist in the past, I’m not a journalist now because it isn’t a pure vocation for me; I write about business change issues to attract interest from the people who hire me to do other things. For example, through writing about Search Engine Optimization we get quite a few inquiries into The Answer Guy’s SEO Consulting and Search Engine Optimization Services. My Criticism of Hubspot? A big winner. Even writing about Hanging Out with Mick Jagger has brought in business inquiries—and helped our SEO efforts.
But maybe my own self-criticism isn’t right any longer. Maybe my attempts at presenting both sides of the things I write about lend me some credibility in the whole “is he a journalist?” question. Certainly I’m more of a journalist than MG Siegler ever was, and I can be trusted more than the so-called journalists at AOL can be, right?
Maybe so. Maybe not. But I’m sure that when journalists are compelled to drive traffic to their posts or risk losing their jobs, getting that traffic becomes more important to them than the content they create.
As for social networking and the way journalists are handling it? I can sum up my feelings in one short word.