Just when we thought newspapers had it figured out and started charging regular visitors to view its websites, thewrap.com comes out with the list of the Top 25 newspapers on Twitter. While newspapers are still focused on web visits, consider the top 2 news sites (with Twitter followers):
Now, compare this with ABC circulation figures as of Sept. 2010:
1. New York Times: 876,638
2. Chicago Tribune: 441,508
Granted, the other newspapers are still running more in paid circ than Twitter followers, but the numbers have been getting closer together in the past few years.
Given that newspapers in general still have a problem getting their hands around social networking, it’s not surprising that they still hand out content to Twitter and Facebook followers at no costs. The idea is still to build brand and readership loyalty that will eventually bring readers back to your newspaper or … more likely … your pay-to-play website.
But, given that new and younger readers are veering away from Web 2.0 and moving toward social networking as their primary source of news and information, wouldn’t it make more sense for publishers to look ahead to where readers are going and set up the checkout register in front of the crowd, rather than behind them?