The new journalists

We’re gearing up for the conference season whether we be journalists, delegates or the majority of us who get the highlights pumped at us through the media. Politics, business and journalism regard October as blanked out and historically those who aren’t at the conferences get to watch what’s going on on the TV or in the national press or in the case of industry bashes , in the trade press.

This is changing fast. Control over content and distribution is passing from a select group of union accredited journalists to a much wider group of attendants who have access to laptops and hand-helds and a decent internet connection. Just about everything that is said and thought about a speech , as well as the photos is now getting published from within the hall, mainly on twitter.

If you don’t believe me, stand at the back of any keynote speech and see the glow of LCDs across the audience.

These new journalists have their audiences. In my business , the prime tweeters have 3-5000 followers but a retweetable audience of many times that. Tom McPhail, Jennie Kresser, Philip Calvert and Rob Gardner are examples. People read their tweets for different reasons but they have a common interest in financial services.

They have secondary audiences too, Rob’s tennis buddies, Jennie’s legal circle, Tom’s biking fraternity and Philip’s social mediasts. The cross-over is fascinating, the day and weekend jobs inform upon the tweet persona (dare I say brand?)

These are what I would call the enthusiastic amateurs, tweeting between 5 and 20 times a day and to no great plan.

I’m a less successful tweeter than these guys but still have around 1600 followers on twitter who are battle hardened from the bombardment of tweets fired rom the cannons of word press and linked in, advertising links to my various postings. Earlier this year I over-tweeted and found my followers going down. There are protocols emerging as to the correct numbers of tweets and the number appears to be falling. When I googled TPD (tweets per day) there were countless studies available published over the last five years. The older ones suggest around 22 tweets per day, more recently 4.3 tweets per day. I tweet 9.3 tweets per day. What all this tells me is that the enthusiastic amateur (which some of us are) are being watched by an army of marketeers for whom we are eager prey.

The new journalists are quite simply, what drives twitter. My match commentaries on Yeovil Town games are delivered by a hardened group of 100 fans who tweet, blog, tweet their blogs and do so in real time. I know a goal has been scored not by teletext or even Sky Sports, I get it from a refresh on the #ytfc hashtag.

I am a big fan of this, it’s what makes twitter relevent. Let the robots do their worst, may the twittering millions allow themselves to be sold the latest Primark sweater by insidious tweet pressure, for me it is listening too and understanding the reactions of my trusted sources to the events that they follow and transmit that gives them value.

The “oh they would say that” reaction is precisely what I love about a Jennie or a Tom tweet. Often I’ll Re-Tweet when I think an insite particularly valuable or content particularly relevent. Most times I will simply absorb.

This constant engagement with matters outside ourselves and the filtering of content through the various processes we apply before we land on our opinions makes for a more vibrant , eclectic and satisfying workplace. Well it does for me.

Contemplating the conferences I will attend this year, I am thinking that I might be better off out of the hall and on a laptop. This of course is rubbish, I would be better off generating the opinion and interacting with others from within the room. But my point has some validity. We cannot all afford the Conference rates but we can all take part to some degree through the new media at our disposal.

Conferences like the NAPF’s have yet to wake up to the importance of the tweeters and bloggers. Press passes are still dished out to the usual suspects who still print the usual articles to the diminishing circle of readers who are prepared to wait for their copy of “engaged investor” or whatever to fall on their doormat.

Meantime, the real action is going on elsewhere, on our laptops, palms and phones. It’s the new journalists who are grabbing the eyeballs and it’s only a matter of time before those who sponsor these events wake up to the shift in value.

At that point, expect to see some changes in press accreditation.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to The new journalists

  1. The Hack says:

    Take it your gutted you have to pay as a product provider for entry into the NAPF, you offer services to pension funds so fair enough. Your 1600 followers, well who are they, scheme managers, trustees, consultants, jo blogs. Not very targeted having a look at your accounts followers? Specialist press target specialist audiences something you do not. They also have independence and a balenced view, which by the way your article does not.

    • henry tapper says:

      Its a shame you feel the need to be anonymous!

      I don’t chose my followers it is true but they followed me of their own will and I suspect be as mystified by your comments as I am!

  2. Pingback: Challenging “received ideas” | Henrytapper's Blog

  3. piet says:

    What’s wrong with primark sweaters?

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