As you read this there is a news and print executive somewhere trying to figure out this new-fangled Twitter thing! How can we use it to survive in a changing marketplace that executive will ponder? It is a question that both the news and print industry must figure out now-or there may not be a tomorrow for many.
MyFoxBoston has been diligent about Twittering and using Facebook to this point. But what I found really exciting is how my friend Mark Parkinson (@sparkythepit) has been effectively using Social Media to driving brand awareness and brand affinity on Facebook and now Twitter. Sparky (known to many as Mark Parkinson) is the overnight cameraman for WFXT-FOX25 News here in Boston. He began posting updates to his Facebook wall for his wife and friends to follow what he was up to over night. He follows exciting stuff like rolled cars, fires, and even some of the more dramatic items like shootings and drug busts. What happened was he started posting (in real time) what he was following and his friends and other friends started commenting on his live news updates. So it occurred to Sparky that it makes sense to Twitter those updates, connect his Twitter posts to his Facebook status and organically share the news – real time! No more having to wait till the morning show to know what is going on in the greater Boston metro.
For the news buffs it is a great way to “stay in the know”. Instead of listening to police and fire scanners you can follow your friendly neighborhood camera man for the latest news in real time. But what does it mean for the news industry? I think it is inevitable that that the future of news has already begun! Look no further than CNN’s iReport-news and opinion from the masses. As Mobile technology becomes more prevalent and easier to use, the ability to share happenings in real time will change the way news is delivered. What traditional news and print agencies need to do is find a way to mobilize a fleet of writers and iReporters to deliver the news and opinion to one online destination that updates news within seconds-instead of within hours. Move television and print advertising money to this new entity. Sadly the casualty of this new shift is the presence of reporters. The reporters will be the camera men & women, the writers, and you and I. That team coupled with the a second to none mobile upload and blog experience will transform both national and local news to a scalable and cost effecitve news organization for the next generation.
Sparky is simply doing what seemed natural to him. Telling the people that matter to him what he is up to. But what he didn’t realize is that he matters to many more people then he thought-the Social News world. I have no doubt that he will garner a huge following in the Boston area and be a trailblazer in the evolution of the delivery of news through Social Media. So the question now, who will be the first sponsor of his Twitter posts?