December 19, 2011
A study by The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs shows that media outlets use Twitter mainly for promoting their stories.
Just two per cent of the tweets from the main news feed analyzed were information-gathering in nature — seeking views or first-hand accounts from readers. And only one per cent of tweets studied were “retweets” that were reposted from a Twitter feed outside the organization.
I guess the thinking is that there is no point in retweeting from other sources because it detracts from the primary objective of driving traffic to your site. This is short-sighted. Your Twitter stream will have more credibility if it is seen as an authentic source of news — regardless of where it comes from.
Of course, you don’t want to retweet your competitors. Still, readers would no doubt appreciate a tweet to the effect that you’ve seen reports and and are checking into them.
As for soliciting information from readers, it sounds like a good idea. But in practice, we have had little response with these types of tweets. It could be argued, though, that it least it shows you’re reaching out and initiating a conversation. So keep trying.