Media companies have no choice but to leap into the queue for Twitter’s new “expanded tweets” application, but I want to add my voice to those who suggest that this might be ultimately a well-placed shot in the foot for content originators. Sure, we may be able to better attract eyeballs to our content to encourage those click-throughs, but it’s also arming Twitter with a clever way to build its own media empire at our expense.
Of greatest concern to me is the definition of the term “media company,” for that applies to everyone today, including the people formerly known as the advertisers. Twitter and all of social media provides a way for the people with the money to by-pass traditional filters, such as legacy media companies. Don’t ever forget this when reading the new media tea leaves.
Mathew Ingram of GigaOm has nailed another issue for local media companies that use new media opportunities to extend their brands: that they’re being drawn into a clever trap that they seemingly can’t avoid.
…there comes a point where a partner can start to look like a competitor if you tilt your head the right way, and I would argue that Twitter is nearing that point. Facebook is also a partner for media companies who use it to host their comments, or have brand pages there, or rely on the social network to promote their work through “frictionless sharing” apps. But at times it can seem as much like competition — particularly for users’ attention — as it does a partner.
That’s part of what I think blogging pioneer Dave Winer means when he warns that media companies should not see Twitter as their friend. To the extent that Twitter is offering news consumers of all kinds access to the information they want — regardless of whether that information consists of “user-generated content” or links to other media outlets — it is a competitor. And to the extent that it can offer better curation or aggregation or filtering or targeting of that content, it will win.
At some point, we simply have to realize that the Web isn’t about mass media and that there are a staggering number of mostly Silicon Valley web entities out there that hope we never figure it out.