After the derision that greeted The New York Times' blogging-will-kill-you story on Sunday, I'm probably not going to do much for the reputation of the mainstream media with hard-core bloggers. So it goes.
Out of curiosity, I drew up a list of 55 technology journalists to find out how many use Twitter, arguably one of the most important social-media technologies on the scene. I included names of some online reporters--including colleagues from CNET as well as TechCrunch--but in the main, the list is comprised of people employed by A-list newspapers and periodicals.
I don't pretend to have come up with a statistically representative list. Call it my weekend science experiment. What's more, some people may have crossed me up by hiding behind pseudonyms. Truth be told, I only changed my "coopeydoop" handle to "Charles Cooper" on Saturday after realizing it made searching for me on Twitter that much harder. So, apologies in advance if I inadvertently lumped anyone in with the wrong list.
Out of the 55 names I randomly came up with, 15 were found on Twitter while the remainder were missing in action. When I pinged one of the reporters asking why--sorry, names of the innocent are being withheld--here's what he answered:
"I don't have a Twitter account, because I think it's silly," the answer came back. "Twitter is lame."
OK, but my guess is that by year's end, most of the folks on the holdout list will get with the program. Not because it's necessarily an elegant system--I'm keeping my pet list of Most Needed Improvements on the service if any of the Twitter folks is interested. Rather, it's a question of self-interest. News often breaks on Twitter before it hits blogs. And companies are paying attention to what comes over the transom. For instance, Mike Arrington's Comcast novella over the weekend did not go unnoticed by the company's monitors.
"Within 20 minutes of my first Twitter message I got a call from a Comcast executive in Philadelphia who wanted to know how he could help. He said he monitors Twitter and blogs to get an understanding of what people are saying about Comcast, and so he saw the discussion break out around my messages."
You're going to see more of this in the weeks and months ahead. More than anything else, self-interest will decide the question for the Fourth Estate. As TechMeme's Gabe Rivera twittered a few days ago, resistance is futile.
Michael Arrington, Techcrunch; Charles Cooper, CNET; Caroline McCarthy: CNET; Kara Swisher, The Wall Street Journal; Tom Foremski, SiliconValley Watcher; Ina Fried, CNET; Saul Hansell, The New York Times; John Markoff, The New York Times; Om Malik, GigaOm; Duncan Riley, Techcrunch; Dan Farber, CNET; Jim Kerstetter, CNET; Sara Lacy, BusinessWeek; Elinor Mills, CNET;Maggie Reardon, CNET; Stephen Shankland, CNET; and Dan Terdiman, CNET.
George Anders, the Journal; Mark Boslet, San Jose Mercury News; Anne Broache, CNET Networks; Peter Burrows, BusinessWeek; Ben Charny, Dow Jones; Don Clark, the Journal; Elizabeth Corcoran, Forbes; Don Clark, the Journal; Cliff Edwards, BusinessWeek; Benny Evangelista, San Francisco Chronicle; Mary Jo Foley, ZDNet; Deborah Gage, San Francisco Chronicle; Jim Goldman, CNBC; Dan Goodin, The Register; Rob Guth, the Journal; Quentin Hardy, Forbes; Miguel Helft, The New York Times; Mark Hendrickson, TechCruch; Rob Hof, BusinessWeek; Michael Kanellos, CNET; Rich Karlgaard, Forbes; Verne Kopytoff, San Francisco Chronicle; Matthew Karnitschnig, the Journal; Tom Krazit, CNET; Brian Krebs, The Washington Post; Martin Lamonica, CNET; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune; Declan McCullagh, CNET; Stefanie Olsen, CNET; Therese Poletti, Marketwatch; Benjamin Pimentel, Marketwatch; Mike Ricciuti, CNET; Eric Savitz, Barrons; Erick Shonfeld, TechCrunch; Jon Swartz, USA Today; Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat; Pui-Wing Tam, the Journal; Wendy Tanaka, Forbes; Ashlee Vance, The Register; and Troy Wolverton, San Jose Mercury News.*******
Oops. The original post lumped Tom Foremski and Saul Hansell with the wrong group (though Saul writes that he doesn't really use the account much.) Also, Benjamin Pimentel is now with Marketwatch. Sorry guys.