March 10, 2009
/ by matt.merlin
As Jay reported here last week, Skittles’ controversial move to change its homepage to a Twitter search page brought on quite a storm surge in the blogosphere and on Twitter. But, what you haven’t seen discussed is how professional journalists handled that story in relation to the bloggers.
Annette Arno reminded us with a recent journalist survey how bloggers and journalists are inter-connected with the rest of the public in the colorful, convoluted world of electronic communication. The vibrant parts of the Skittles/Twitter story that made it newsworthy, the bold business move and the graffiti on Twitter, were similar in both mediums. And let’s remember, journalists were the ones who brought this story to the candy-eating public, beyond the niche-blogs and marketing publications, so we can’t dismiss them!
That being said, the Skittles/Twitter story was never a major hit in the mainstream media, and it didn’t even show up until 12 to 24 hours after it ran wild in the blogosphere. The Wall Street Journal covered it quite thoroughly in traditional reporting fashion, while the L.A. Times technology blog was a bit more cynical, with “Surprise, surprise, pranksters showed up.”, and USA Today quoted and linked another blog’s marketing expertise, bringing the story full-circle.
Even so, the main points of the bloggers and journalists posts were similar: A blogger’s “Of course this has resulted in hilarity, as the Web discovers that tweets about the candy will be represented on the candy’s official site.” vs. the less casual WSJ reporting, “Skittles has little control over who participates and what they say.”
If you look at a chart taken from Cision Social Media Dashboard, you can see that bloggers’ interest in the Skittles/Twitter story peaked on March 2, mid-day. That was the period Skittles.com got redirected to the TwitterSearch site, and many industry pundits posted strong opinions on whether Skittles’ move was a sound business one.
Then on March 4, after Skittles switched its homepage from Twitter to Facebook, the Associated Press picked up the Skittles/Twitter story. The AP story played up the controversy of the “vulgar comments” and Skittles’ decision to switch from Twitter to Facebook as a homepage of choice. Even the The Telegraph from the U.K. got on board with a weekly news round-up story about the switch from Twitter to Facebook. That story reflected a second and third (smaller) wave of blogs on March 3-5, which reignited interest due to the Facebook switch.
The story then died down over the next day or two only to be dimly rekindled as Skittles yet again switched its homepage. Look at the hoops we jump through for an afternoon sugar fix!
Blog Post Traffic for the Skittles/Twitter Story
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