Is Twitter Your Job? Is It Paying You? So What Are You Doing?


Who gamed a substantial number of professional news-gatherers into providing free content for Twitter?

Remember back when newspapers and other organizations doubled their employees’ workload? (You should, it was only like a couple years ago.) And they were all, ha ha, now you have to blog too! Or you’ll get fired like all those union guys who used to run the printing plant! So that worked out pretty well actually. Worked out real good for… some people. But everyone has taken this message way too much to heart. This morning, we saw a seemingly endless number of journalists spend the very early hours frantically live-tweeting every possibly interesting bit (and plenty not) of Rupert Murdoch’s testimony at an inquiry. It didn’t seem like note-taking; they weren’t going to get a transcription out of this for later use; there was definitely hardly any room, at 140 characters, for analysis. It certainly wasn’t helping them get their news articles published in a more timely fashion! And it not only didn’t result in any revenue for their news organization, it didn’t even result in any revenue for the writer in the course of his job duties.

Or did it? I suppose the good news is that all this furious tweeting likely increased their Klout scores, and that may result in sneaky hotel upgrades. And more!

Klout is starting to infiltrate more and more of our everyday transactions. In February, the enterprise-software giant Salesforce.com introduced a service that lets companies monitor the Klout scores of customers who tweet compliments and complaints; those with the highest scores will presumably get swifter, friendlier attention from customer service reps. In March, luxury shopping site Gilt Groupe began offering discounts proportional to a customer’s Klout score.

So they’ve tricked everyone into “building their brand.” For Gilt Groupe discounts!

Also, all this attention will then get reporters attention for their links to their actual work… allegedly. Maybe. Transient attention, at least.

People use Twitter because it’s fun, mostly. It’s a great game! Twitter is actually an earnestly, honestly fun thing to do. And if you love news, and reporting, it makes sense that you’ll probably like live-tweeting.

Until it’s 11 a.m. in New York, and you’ve been typing furiously for four hours, and then you have to, you know, do your job all day. For your paycheck. Your Twitter followers totally might help you get a promotion! But your Klout score isn’t gonna help with the IRS and the rent. (Yet.)