Twitter is a very useful tool to spread breaking news, we have seen it time and time again used by people and organizations to announce their scoops. Usually, tweeps are the ones that decide what is worth spreading so they retweet what they like and ignore the pieces of news that doesn’t interest them.
The thing is that influential tweeps who spread the news are usually very passionate about their topic and don’t take it lightly when someone is promising them the moon and fails to deliver. And that’s exactly what the Guardian learned the tough way.
The paper’s sports editor, @ianprior created a buzz on January 27th by tweeting the following:
“Major – and boy do I mean it – football exclusive coming up on guardian.co.uk sometime around 5.30.” — see tweet
That created a storm of speculation as to what that news might be, and it rocketed the #GuardianExclusive tag into a trending topic. At 5:30 GMT, the breaking news was regarding a possible transfer linking Inter Milan, the Italian football club, acquiring the services of Tottenham Hotspur starlet Gareth Bale. Now, just to clarify what this piece of news means, it is discussing a possible move that will occur 6 months from now, it is as breaking as reporting last years news.
They surely made the paper pay for it, and while they were at it, they crucified Bale as well with the tags #GuardianFail and #BaleFail. What is even worse is that both clubs denied the news of the transfer, through other news outlets, to add insult to injury.
The Lesson To Be Learned
Make sure that when you are promoting something on Twitter and you are creating a buzz about it that you live up to the expectations of the tweeps who are following you. Because in the world of Twitter, no news is certainly better than bad news, because bad news has the potential to go viral and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of tweeps’ scorn.