THE POLITICIZER

A fresh perspective on politics and society from the internet generation.

Nice to Tweet You

Posted by politicizer on June 12, 2009

Conor Rogers, Political Editor

Think of the most recent party you were at, recall how many people you told that it was ‘nice to meet them’ now, how many of these people did you actually find it nice to meet?

This unofficial ratio is roughly the same for our generation, as it applies to media outlets and personalities that “add us on facebook” and “follow us on twitter.” Nice to tweet you, but often times we don’t really want to talk to you. Recall from my original post titled ‘Meet our Generation” that the internet is an integral part of our social lives, not an addition to it. Now, just like a normal social situation, it’s nice to meet someone, but if they aren’t talking about something interesting – it’s really not. In the same way, it’s nice you have a twitter and are tweeting your thoughts in an effort to reach out to our generation, but if it’s not interesting or relevant – it’s really not ‘nice to tweet you’.

Excuse the sardonic tone, this post isn’t meant to deride attempts by public relations strategists and politicians to reach out to the iGeneration on the internet; they’ve been successful for the most part. Rather, this is more a rebuke to the simple idea that because these people are using our generation’s technology, we will listen and suddenly think that they are more hip, younger, or interesting – or that putting what they are reporting on twitter and facebook suddenly makes it more important to young people.

No media outlet has been more relentless and even slightly comical in their embracement of ‘new technology’ than CNN. The network spends hours a day reading aloud tweets, emails, facebook wall posts, even picture comments into their news cycle. Though the simple fact that people are sending in tweets and emails may seem like proof that their efforts are working, you can bet that the age demographic between people who used to “call-in” to shows, and those who are now tweeting the shows have not changed by any great degree. Secondly, this is all said in the context of that fact CNN has fallen to dead last in cable news ratings, averaging less than 1 million viewers per show. (Compare this to Fox News, which hovers between 2 and 3 million) Why? Likely because if we cared what user Lola747 had to say about the financial crisis, we could go check out Lola747’s twitter, conveniently already located on the internet for everyone to see.

I’m not one to lambaste a tactic and not provide an alternative, so what should networks like this do to grab our attention? They first must swallow the realization that a large number of the iGeneration don’t care about the topics they are covering –yet. This is not because we are uninterested or lazy, but rather because stock futures, home prices and taxes aren’t yet among our concerns.  Also, media outlets must realize we don’t like being scared. We don’t like watching you report that our college savings are collapsing, that there aren’t going to be any jobs for us when we graduate, nor do we want to see pundits try to make the wars look so bad that we’re going to get drafted. Sure, people our age use facebook and twitter, but how about sending us updates about where the best job markets are, where we can find scholarships, covering news about education,  and simultaneously present a lighter feel to the news. Scare tactics and ideological battles win the older viewers for Fox News and MSNBC – and ’middle’ of the road CNN is being blown out of the water; because between the doomsday reporting and Lola747’s opinions being trumpeted as if it is equal to Newt Gingrich and James Carville’s the content is simply comical – and thinking that this is going to get young people to listen, is an insult to our intelligence.

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One Response to “Nice to Tweet You”

  1. Christopher Conway said

    There’s nothing worse than a boring twitterer.

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