How Mainstream Media Outlets Use Twitter

Nov 14, 2011

Mainstream news organizations have made the social media tool Twitter a daily part of how they communicate with audiences. But how do those organizations actually use the technology: How often do they tweet? What kind of news do they distribute? To what extent is Twitter used as a new reporting tool or as a mechanism for gathering insights from followers?

To answer some of these questions, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs collaborated on a study of Twitter feeds from 13 major news organizations representing a cross section of the news landscape.

The research, which examined more than 3,600 tweets over the course of a week, reveals that these news organizations use Twitter in limited ways-primarily as an added means to disseminate their own material. Both the sharing of outside content and engagement with followers are rare. The news content posted, moreover, matches closely the news events given priority on the news organizations' legacy platforms.

Read the full report, How Mainstream Media Outlets Use Twitter, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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