Social Media and Journalism
Morning Joe & Joe Scarborough
Morning Joe is an MSNBC television show *hosted by former GOP Representative Joe Scarborough. “Morning Joe” features interviews with top newsmakers and high-profile politicians. The political pundit also offers in-depth analysis of the day’s biggest stories, and frequently debates issues with his co-host, Mika Brzezinski. (*Description found via Google search.) This Twitter account is a representation of the show, the show’s guests, and it is managed by the Morning Joe Staff, with a relaxed “morning show” feel.
Morning Joe Twitter Analysis
I analyzed Morning Joe’s Twitter feed for six days, Friday, January 23 – Wednesday, January 28, 2015.
During that time, there were a total of 21 tweets.
Friday • 7 tweets. / Saturday/Sunday • 0 Tweets.
Monday • 4 Tweets. / Tuesday • 1 Tweet. / Wednesday • 9 Tweets.
Surprisingly, out of those 21 tweets, 13 were announcements, in list form, of the day’s guest or show topics.
Morning Joe’s Twitter Strengths
With about half of their posts being guest announcements, it was nice to see that Morning Joe did have a few posts that encouraged fan engagement. In six days, two questions were asked of the audience.
Morning Joe also tried to create some excitement about one of their guest appearances, Kenny G.
Morning Joe’s Twitter Weaknesses
None of the posts seem extraordinary, receiving only two to eight retweets on any given post. The post most favorited received 18 stars. Second to that was five stars, and it was an updated guest list, underwhelming, to say the least. A lot of the comments were negative, stating that Joe is not funny, or that the show does not have credibility. (Click Question / Statement Tweets above to View). Morning Joe did not respond to any comments. Rule one of social media is engagement, in order to foster that, conversations must be two-way. If you ask a fan to comment, then you should respond to that comment. It is social media courtesy, lest not we forget our manners.
Morning Joe’s Twitter Summery
I have to admit, I am a little perplexed. Morning Joe’s Twitter account has 137,000 followers. I would have expected much more from them. Maybe I just picked a bad week but I would have liked to have seen more hype and build up for the guests or the topics being discussed. There wasn’t any teasers or links for more information. They did not tweet after the show to recap. Whoever is managing this account, needs to take a class. Social media is an opportunity for shows like Morning Joe to engage with their audience. I did not see any breaking news announcements or any real crowdsourcing to uncover what viewers are interested in. Given the type of show, based around interviews with top leaders, Twitter could be used to ask the audience what questions they want answered before the show or in real-time. The Twitter description states, “Live Tweet during show,” but I did not see any live tweets. Morning Joe could post pictures of the guests before the start of the show to build excitement. They could follow up with links to the guest’s social media pages or articles that relate to the topics discussed. They could do a lot but they’re not. Social media is where people go for news and entertainment. Morning Joe’s Twitter account is not giving them much of either. Twitter should give the audience a reason to stay and engage and not just something to read and move on.
Morning Joe could do better!
A perfect example of why Twitter is the go-to place for news, happened just now. (1/29/15 @ 11:00 p.m.)
As I was searching for a tweet to post, the following example pops up in my search.
This tweet posted just 35 minutes ago, as I was completing this assignment:
I am disappointed that the show is being dropped by MSNBC.
Perhaps, ratings would have been higher if Morning Joe had utilized social media more effectively.
Social media is changing journalism. Journalism must change with social media.
Charles Joseph “Joe” Scarborough is an American cable news and talk radio host, lawyer, author, and former politician. He is currently the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, and previously hosted Scarborough Country on the same channel. (*Description found via Google search.) This Twitter account is managed by Joe Scarborough, himself, and is his professional brand platform. He also has a website that echoes much of the same content (politics, sports, music.) This account is more personal but does include some professional commentary.
After looking at Morning Joe’s somewhat embarrassing Twitter account, I decided to examine the host’s account to see how he was levering his Twitter feed to promote his brand as a journalist. I analyzed Joe Scarborough’s Twitter feed for the same six days, Friday, January 23 – Wednesday, January 28, 2015. During that time, there were a total of 39 tweets.
Friday • 7 tweets. / Saturday • 7 Tweets. / Sunday •11 Tweets.
Monday • 10 Tweets. / Tuesday • 1 Tweet. / Wednesday • 3 Tweets.
Scarborough’s Twitter Strengths
Scarborough had a more diverse mix of posts and was more active in his tweeting. His overall mix included several retweets, a few political statements, several personal statements, statements about the storm approaching, one personal picture, a YouTube video about his work, and a few photographs of colleagues and guests. On his original posts, Scarborough’s tweets garnered anywhere from one retweet to 32 retweets.
On Twitter, Scarborough does engage with people who commented on his posts. Most of the comments occurred on the more personal posts about his love of music (he is releasing an album) and his connection to Meridian, MS his hometown (as well as mine). Overall, Scarborough is using his Twitter account to build his personal brand. From the week that I followed him, I found out where he is from, that he has a passion and talent for music, and I saw a connection to what he was interested in, which is of course, politics.
Scarborough was personal without sharing too much information. He did not mention where he was going, where he had been, or what his children were doing (if he has any). He is good at sharing but not sharing too much.
Scarborough’s Twitter Weaknesses
Although it seems he is doing some things correctly, Scarborough’s posts do not feel deliberate or thought-out, but rather a little scattered. He does not ask for many opinions, either. In personal branding, this would be a good idea to build trust from his followers. Creating conversations with fans is key, Scarborough does that around his music but since he is known for commentary on politics, he should incorporate more of that into his brand image on Twitter.
Joe Scarborough’s Twitter Summery
Joe Scarborough is working to create a brand image. His main topics on his Twitter account are politics, sports, and music. These interests are carried over from his webpage, which also focuses on the same topics. Scarborough’s Twitter account has 303,000 followers, which proves people are interested in him and his personal brand. I found it interesting he only follows 385 Twitter feeds, mostly political analysts, journalists, people in the music industry, and feeds related to sports. (Who is Joe Following?)
How to Build a Personal Brand on Twitter, states that the first thing in establishing a brand image is to claim your Twitter handle. In Scarborough’s case, @joescarborough is already taken, so he has claimed two others. The first, of course, is @joeNBC, which is the one analyzed here. The other is @joeMSNBC. The only downfall to this is what happens when the show is canceled, and Scarborough is no longer a broadcast journalist on NBC or MSNBC. Trouble. Mashable explains, “Twitter handles have become so important, that there is now even an aftermarket for them, Tweexchange, where user names are bought and sold.”
The article also suggests: deciding how you what to brand yourself, becoming known as an expert, establishing a Twitter marketing plan, using third party apps, and forming a mastermind group. Although it is hard to tell if Scarborough uses third party apps, or if he has established a mastermind group of like people who promote each other; it is clear that he knows how he wants to brand himself, and he is known to be an expert, at least in the political realm. (He also has credibility in sports and music). It seems that Scarborough is working off a marketing plan. This is evident through the similarities between his website and social media accounts (same cover photo, look and content). I would suggest to Scarborough that he incorporate some of the following ideas on how journalists can use social media:
- Crowdsource and gather story ideas
- Build lists
- Find sources or witnesses to stories
- Follow breaking news as it unfolds
- Live reports before the newscast
- Drive followers to your website or to watch a newscast.
Important tips to remember:
- Be first
- Be right
- Promote other resources: links, sites, websites, and broadcasts.
Twitter is regularly used by 53.8% of journalists to check for breaking news, check the competition, find ideas for stories, keep in touch with audience members, and to find sources, just to name a few. With the future of Morning Joe being a bit shaky, Scarborough would be well-advised to update his strategy.