Recently, while on The New York Times website, I discovered a page providing Twitter handles of The New York Times reporters. I currently follow many sections of The New York Times, and I was excited to connect with the writers I enjoy. However, when I returned to the website, I could no longer find the page, nor were my search results (for it) fruitful.
That experience highlights the area I believe The New York Times is weakest. Although the website provides many opportunities to share stories through social media, The New York Times does a poor job directing readers to its social media.
Each section of the paper has its own Twitter handle, yet readers cannot easily find a list of these handles on the website. (If such a page exists, I have not yet been able to find it.) When you search for The New York Times on Twitter, the numerous Twitter handles are not streamlined. The New York Post and New York Magazine interrupt the list of The New York Times handles. Although most of the profile photos and descriptions are consistent, they are not all the same. In fact, the unofficial Twitter handle for food and dining appears before the official one. Twitter’s search algorithm might be responsible for these search difficulties; however, The New York Times might be more successful in gaining followers if they adapted to the search algorithm or provide readers with a clear list of its handles.
The New York Times also has several Facebook pages (also divided by section). The paper does a poor job promoting these pages. For example, The New York Times has been my preferred news outlet for several years now, and I just recently liked the page.
The New York Times primarily directs readers to its social media through side bars next to online stories. I believe the paper could be more successful if it provided a link on its homepage allowing readers to connect with its various media. Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that there may be a financial motivation for this. Readers can obtain news “for free” through social media; they may only view ten monthly articles free online. Encouraging social media may indirectly discourage subscriptions. Nevertheless, with the ongoing growth of social media, I believe that encouraging them will benefit the paper more than the alternative.