I have spoken to a few friends today, who shared the exact same observation as me. Each said how interesting it was, that some A-Lister’s with access to Mark Zukerberg; such as Mashable’s Pete Cashmore and Buzz Machine’s Jeff Jarvis, were far more supportive of ‘Zuck and critical of his negative portrayal in the Facebook movie, than many less well connected journalists and bloggers were.
What was interesting, was that this question was even asked! I don’t know Jeff or Pete and yet, because of the power Zuckerberg has in their industry and the fact that access to him is so valuable to people like Jeff and Pete, I found myself applying a filter, as I read what they wrote.
Can I reiterate, there is NO suggestion here that these guys did not write freely and from the heart. My point is purely that brands like Facebook, Apple and Twitter etc, are now so important to A-List bloggers and ‘tech journalists, that I wonder how or if, that impacts what they say. That’s what this post is about.
Leo Laporte is still paying the price for pissing off Twitter!
As Leo Laporte can testify, there can be a BIG price to pay for speaking from the heart. It can see you seriously penalized! Leo has previously spoken out against Twitter and was then omitted from Twitter’s enormously valuable Suggested User List. (Even though Leo was once the most followed person on Twitter!) Twitter then decided to gift SUL places to less experienced and less outspoken tech journalists, including iJustine and Veronica Belmont. Justine and Veronica ALSO picked up millions of Twitter followers between them, whilst Leo remained totally overlooked by the SUL. (Ouch!)
That’s a pretty clear message, for those who want to follow Leo’s route, when you consider that inclusion on that list can give you millions of followers. Followers equal traffic, and these guy sell advertising – which makes a place on the SUL worth a fortune.
Here’s what I’m wondering: Are the top ‘tech brands, like Twitter, Google, Apple and Facebook now too important to A-List bloggers and ‘tech journalists?
Steve Jobs admits: “iPhone was designed by aliens.” (Honest!)
Sensational headlines like the one above, have been used for years, as a way to attract readers.
If a headline sounds really interesting, there’s a better chance people will read it, than if that same, equally good article or blog post has a more “realistic” title. However, there’s a big difference between making a headline as compelling as possible, and writing a headline that’s factually incorrect and linking it to a non-story, just for page views.
Tech news and page views
There’s what seems like an epidemic of fake rumours and inaccurate reports flying around the tech news industry, because these fake stories with their even more outrageous headlines grab the page views that pay for our favourite tech news sites. These sites live or die based on the number of page views they can deliver to their advertisers. This need for page views is also why, even respected publications like pcmag.com, now produce single blog posts, which run to many pages. This simple post was stretched over (wait for it) 12 pages! It’s just a post about some WordPress plugins they like, which is a 1 page post!
The Elyse Porterfield dry erase hoax, is a great example of non-news getting widely reported, because tech news outlets knew it would drive lots of traffic. The fact that the story featured a model, had a too-good-to-be-true story, came from someone with a history of hoaxes and was delivered via a series of professionally-shot photos, means EVERY leading tech news outlet knew it was fake. However, they all published it as a fact – Before retracting. They knew that the story was hot and that the retraction would ALSO be hot. That means page views.
In my opinion, every time a news blog puts the need for page views above the needs of it’s readers, it fails it’s readers. Failing their readers to appease their advertisers is maybe not a great long term strategy. If you are looking forward to translate this content, contact Translation Agencies UK