Bye bye birdie: Daily cuts Campus Tweets

Only 4 percent feel Twitter is an important source of information.
September 10, 2009

In Tuesday’s issue of The Minnesota Daily, our Online Manager, Son Huynh, introduced you to all the new features of mndaily.com; however, a few initiatives the Daily tried in the past ended along with the new Web site, including Campus Tweets and community forums.
When these projects were launched last spring, they were done so as an experiment on how to better connect with our readers. However, many editors and Editorial staff this summer have come to realize that with the exception of a few loyal users, they didn’t engage our audience in the way we had hoped.
Most of the tweets that appeared under Campus Tweets were press releases from other organizations or links to personal Web sites, rather than news tips and posts related to campus happenings. Although this was not always the case, it happened frequently enough that editors expressed concern that the application was not serving its intended purpose of enhancing the Daily’s coverage.
While Campus Tweets, which was a feed of tweets submitted by users to the Daily’s Web site, is no longer in use, we will continue to have a strong presence on Twitter. Readers can connect with the Daily on our Facebook application and follow our various Twitter feeds — managed by our own Editorial staff.
Our Facebook application continues to receive attention from other college and professional publications with its mission to engage readers and provide a space for reader participation.
The Daily has been and will continue to be on the cutting edge of new media techniques, but we are willing to recognize when something isn’t working. Social media is a new asset to news organizations; however we are still working to figure out how it is best utilized.
Twitter has received a large amount of media hype since it has gained popularity, and while we recognize the many benefits of its use, the Daily wants to continue using proven means of passing community news on to our readers including strong reporting, diverse coverage and reader-centric stories.
According to Harvard Business School research completed in May, more than half of Twitter users tweet less than once every 74 days, while the top 10 percent of users account for 90 percent of the content sent out.
While the Daily will continue to send out headlines and links to stories on our Web site through our Twitter accounts, a poll released by Zogby International in June showed that only 4 percent of people feel Twitter is an important source for information.
As Twitter gains popularity, perhaps we will revisit the idea of Campus Tweets, but for now we will scale back our use of the technology.
The Daily will continue its experimentation with social media, making sure not to compromise our news coverage and commitment to serving our readers.

Holly Miller is the Editor-in-Chief of The Minnesota Daily. She welcomes comments at hmiller@mndaily.com.

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