A thought-provoking post from Tom Gable in today’s Daily Dog, responding to a claim by the Harvard Business Review’s Joshua Gans that, “Facebook is the largest news organization ever.”
While Gable spends a lot of time distinguishing between the “news” value of your cousin Sally’s Facebook post about her labradoodle puppy and, say, the situation in Libya, the larger point he makes about social media and the importance of “being first” should keep your CEO and IR department awake at night. Gable writes:
“Professional journalism traditionally aims for accuracy, enlightenment and fairness. Some Bloggers and Twits claim to practice citizen journalism, which others dismiss as fluff, hype and churnalism. Legitimate media, including top bloggers, post corrections and updates when stories are wrong. Doing a search for corrections on Twitter doesn’t turn up much. Younger consumers of news and information may have difficulty discerning the difference between professional journalism and faux fast news. The race to be first is having an impact on financial news coverage as well.”
Gable cites an article entitled, “Twitter, tech bubbles, and the nostalgia of the technology press” by Tim Carmody, which notes that Twitter, bloggers and Quora are driving corporate stock prices, with information moving as fast or faster than the traditional journalists covering the industry.
When anonymous messages appearing from out of the ether have the same or greater impact as well-researched articles published by reputable news organizations, millions of dollars and jobs are at stake.
Today’s investor relations officer must spend at least as much time monitoring what’s being said about his company as he does getting the word out. It’s like playing Whac-a-Mole while simultaneously making a phone call and typing a press release.
Hope your multitasking skills are up to snuff.