Is there such a thing as over-coverage of social networking tools?

For a couple of months, I’ve had a running “gag” on Twitter that, in jest, suggests that New York Times writers are required to have a Twitter-angle to every story they file. It’s an easy thing to poke fun at, as the Times seems obsessed with the topic of Twitter. For example, today there’s a story about webcasting and tweeting hospital procedures. Also, “Twitter” is one of the only “Times Topics” subjects I have run across that has two entries: one for business stories and the other for, well, anything else about Twitter.

Ironically, however, in glancing back through my recent posts and “tweets,” I’ve noticed that the joke is on me: I regularly tweet and post in response to things I read in the Times. The Times matters to me. Content from the website flows through many of the tools I use to monitor the news and information related to my business and personal interests. I make lots of decisions based on what I read in the Times (or, most likely, on the Times).

In reality, I’m a great fan of the New York Times coverage of things related to online identity and expression that collectively have the popular umbrella title, social media. The Times is one of the few news organizations that has seriously focused its editorial resources on coverage of the business implications and technology related to social media, as well as trying to interpret how the different tools and platforms are being used — not only by marketers and media companies — in ways that are having an impact on all facets of our lives. I often get riled by the spin one of their stories takes, but that’s typically because I’m too close to the topic and am not, at least for that story, one of the general-interest readers for which it is intended.

From time to time, I also disagree with a NYT management business decision related to online media, but I’m impressed with the work of whoever there gets coverage, development and design decisions out the door.

So, while I will keep joking about the New York Times coverage of social media, I’ll keep reading it.

[I have another couple of posts to demonstrate what I mean. I’ll be posting them later today.]

  • I wonder if the success of the gothamist, AVC, and the NYC tech startup community have had an effect on the NYT choice to move in the digital direction. I think one of the reasons they are going the twitter and social media route, is because it means a closer relationship with social sites like Digg. I don’t think any other non-blog publication, perhaps excluding Wired and science mags has so much success. Its certainly a success story–taking calculated and innovative risks online will get more views and sales.

    I think they’ve also embraced the three device strategy: mobile device, computer, TV that Fred talks about. They’ve even embraced the ipod (which should really be the fouth device). I’m sure you’d say the Kindle should be the fifth.

    In a side note….I’m not a Kindle user….but I can’t wait for the Kindle to go social (ala Seth’s recommendation). I’ll pick one up in snap.

  • One more thing: This is pretty cool media geekery from NYT R +D if you haven’t checked out….including Custom times TV. I really think the immersive ad units which expand and are emmersive in sense are quite impressive. They point to the new honda ad on vimeo, a gawker ad, and the Nintendo Wario ad on YouTube.

    Oh…and the NYT taking about paying for premium content as of the 16th of May. And interesting shift is certainly coming.