Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Serial meets The X-Files in Limetown, a fictional podcast drawing raves after just one episode
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 17, 2011, 1:34 p.m.

A promoted New York Times Twitter trend for paywall talk

If you’re a journalist on Twitter today, it’s probably an understatement to say this morning’s announcement of The New York Times’ digital subscription plan is blowing up your Twitter stream. But here’s something interesting we noticed: The Times is using a promoted trend (#NYTimesNews) to spread the word on the new pricing plans.

We’ve been down this road before, notably with the Washington Post on Election Day, and more recently when Al Jazeera English was trying to capture support for carrying the network here in the states. It’s a proven method of trying to spread a message or cultivate conversation on Twitter, as companies hope users take the flag (the promoted flag) and run with it.

That’s certainly the case with the #NYTimesNews trend — although they’re often running with mixed-to-outright-negative (along with the occasional “WHY ISN’T BIEBER TRENDING”) reactions from the Twitter world:

The Times plan, while obviously aimed at getting people to actually lay down the money for their product, has the side effect of triggering a broader discussion on the value of journalism that’s important to you. Those big discussions seem to come with everything the Times does, but it was one thing when the discussions were abstract. Now that we see the choices to be made, well, that’s when things start getting real.

One thing to think about in all of this: Who are the people taking part in the #NYTimesNews debate? Are they largely the fly-by audience who may not even see a change to how they read the Times, or are they the “bumpers,” as Ken Doctor might say, who’ll have to make a choice? Or does their presence on Twitter indicate they’ll keep happily entering through the social-media side door the Times is leaving open?

POSTED     March 17, 2011, 1:34 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     The New York Times’ new paywall
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Serial meets The X-Files in Limetown, a fictional podcast drawing raves after just one episode
“Serial had to stay nonfictional. At the end of the show, it didn’t necessarily mean that it had a conclusion. That’s the biggest advantage we have: We’re making it up. So we can give you an ending.”
The Atlantic is returning to blogging
“We missed the kind of writing it represents. We missed the kind of audience engagement it represents.”
The mourning of AJR is less about a decline in press criticism than the loss of an institution
Like the media it covers, journalism criticism has moved from the work of a few established institutions to something more diffuse.
What to read next
2351
tweets
The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media
The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote.
1287Jo Ellen Green Kaiser: Do independent news outlets have a blind spot when it comes to ethnic media?
The head of the Media Consortium argues that, by defining themselves in opposition to mainstream media, independent progressive outlets miss out on the power of ethnic and community journalism.
1029Newsonomics: 10 numbers on The New York Times’ 1 million digital-subscriber milestone
Digital subscribers are proving to be the bedrock of the Times’ business model going forward. How much more room is there for growth — and at what price points?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Kickstarter
The Nation
American Independent News Network
Creative Commons
The New Republic
NBC News
Plaza Pública
Daily Kos
Groupon
San Francisco Chronicle
Twitter