New York Times’presence on the Social Network Sites
The New York Times is an American newspaper, published in New York, which
circulation is approximately 1 million daily. This newspaper is an institution in the news
industry, as it has been created in 1851, and won 101 Pulitzer prizes (the most of all news
companies). In December 2008, a study showed that the New York Times’ website was the
most popular website in the US, with more than 18 million unique visitors monthly.
Everybody knows that the printed newspaper industry suffers a lot because of the
Internet. Newspaper companies have to readapt themselves to achieve the shift into
digitalisation. With the most popular website in the US, the New York Times is succeeding in
attracting a lot of readers and would be consumers on its website. How come? How do they
manage to attract very unpredictable and volatile Internet users? How does the New York
Times use social networking sites (“SNS”) to curb physical sales decrease? Does the future of
the New York Times rely on SNS?
To tackle such burning issues, first I will focus on the use of SNS made by the New
York Times, and then I will wonder if using SNS will be the future New York Times’
I. Presence on social network sites to remain close to consumers
I.1 - Facebook
The New York Times uses all the tools available on Facebook to communicate
towards its audience. As all companies, they can use different tools to remain close to their
consumers and potential consumers.
(i) The New York Times has its group page, which
currently gathers almost 1000 Facebook users, different
discussion topics, a few wall posts, and links added by group
users. (ii) In parallel to this page (that is not really a successful
group), the New York Times has its fan page, which gathers more
than 470 000 Facebook users. Lots of article links, photos and
videos, are added to the wall to make users read articles on the
New York Times’ official website. Under each post (links towards
articles or photos), you can see that around 100 people liked or
commented each post. So, this page gathers lots of Facebook
users, but only 0,02% of them are active on the page (“like” button
or comments made). (iii) In addition to these pages, the New York
Times delivered a couple of applications: “the New York Times
news quiz”, with 1 200 monthly users, “NYTimes.com most e-
mailed articles”, with around 230 monthly users.
At first sight, it appears that the presence on Facebook is not very efficient because
the New York Times does not gather enough users.
I.2 - LinkedIn
The presence of the New York Times on LinkedIn, is similar to its presence on
Facebook. Indeed, there is a company profile on LinkedIn where users can read a summary of
the newspaper history, key statistics, news, and stock information. Users have also access,
thanks to this profile, to current employees registered on LinkedIn, former employees, new
hires, recent changes in position, most popular profiles, and job offers. Besides, a couple of
unofficial groups exist.
At first glance, the use of this SNS is much more professional, as LinkedIn it is a
professional networking site. The New York Times presence on LinkedIn is much more
professional, dealing with the company itself, than focusing on news spreading, as it is on
I.3 - Twitter
What about Twitter, often seen as the future
of micro journalism? The New York Times has
several profiles on Twitter, combining almost 2
million followers. There are profiles for each news
topic: “@nytimes”, “@nytimesstyle”,
“@nytimesarts”, “@nytimesScience”, “@nytimestravel”, “@nytimesnational”,
“@nytimesworld”, “@nytimespolitics”, “@nytimessports” and much more.
The New York Times uses these profiles to “microblog” headlines (an average of 2
posts per hour) giving in each post a link towards the main New York Times’ website to read
the whole story. In addition to that, lots of Twitter user RT (re-tweet) New York Times’
tweets, spreading articles to their followers. In this way, users themselves become
“advertisers” for the New York Times’ main website, much more than on other SNS.
I.4 – Google (Youtube and Fastflip)
The New York Times is also present on Youtube,
where the newspaper has a “Youtube Channel”, 1 500
online videos, and more than 17 000 users following the
channel. The channel is the 24th
more watched with almost
18 million videos watched by users.
Through Youtube, the New York Times shares with users who can watch and
comment videos. The New York Times, whose online motto is “Where the conversation
begins”, tries also with Youtube to attract users towards the main New York Times’ website.
Besides, Google released a few weeks ago a
new search engine called “fastflip”. This product is a
consulting engine: users can flip headlines and articles
of newspapers (only partners of this product, among
them is the New York Times). Google presented it as an
“easier and more rapid” way to browse the news. Users have access to homepages of
newspaper sites and reach newspaper websites when they are interested in an article.
I.5 - Digg, Delicious and Reddit
The New York Times also uses these social bookmarking websites. Users can store,
share and discover articles via posts made by other users. Then, users vote for interesting
article to promote the best content so that it can be seen by more users. How does the New
York Times use such websites? Every article can be shared through these websites and the
New York Times uses tools to make sharing easy. So, it is really convenient for users to share
articles they have read on the New York Times’ website to promote them among their
I.8 - Flickr
To finish with the presence of the New York Times on
SNS, let’s underline the presence of the newspaper on Flickr.
Flickr is not very used by the New York Times: it has one profile
with only 122 shared pictures, compared to the official White
House photo stream that shares more than 1 200 pictures.
II. Presence on social network sites is not a new business model
To conclude, online presence of the New York Times on SNS is only a way to stay in
touch with its public. All the SNS are used as “readers aggregators”: the New York Times
uses SNS to promote its content, to create buzz, to create articles sharing... Through SNS, the
newspaper gathers readers into communities so that the newspaper stays in touch with them.
Indeed, it is necessary to remain in minds of volatile internet users that can go on every
website to find news. Today’s internet users can reach news everywhere, that is why the New
York Times has to be the closest news provider, and it tries to be so via SNS.
However, being present on SNS does not mean earning money... Articles and
advertisement are only sold on the New York Times’ website. New York Times’ presence on
SNS does not make the newspaper earn money but it attracts audience, what is a key point. I
think the New York Times should be more aggressive on SNS: like CNN when the channel
organised a contest on Twitter vs. Ashton Kutcher. Indeed, the New York Times is present on
SNS but I think it does not create enough buzz on these SNS. It should do so to reach more
audience and attract more readers on its website.
- Google multiple les gestes envers la presse, les échos, 16/09/09
- Google développe un système pour faire payer la lecture de journaux en ligne, les échos,
- What If: The New New York Times, by Michael Arrington on July 30, 2009
Social networking sites
Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Youtube / Digg / Reddit / Delicious / Flickr