UK Newspapers in Social Media: winners and losers

As yesterday’s blog post shows, social media continues to radically transform the ways traditional journalism operates across the world. We learnt that some of year’s biggest stories broke via Twitter, not printed press. And traditional journalism will either transform, or die.

An unanswered question remains though – how are UK’s newspapers navigating the uncharted territory of social media? Here’s a quick glance at the performance of six popular newspapers on Twitter – the hub of world’s instantaneous conversation.

The total number of followers and tweets is a good indicator of the user’s aggregate activity. Financial Times and the Telegraph are clear leaders in this category.

Number of Followers

 @FinancialTimes 1017671
 @Guardian 720,638
 @TheSunNewspaper 205968
 @Telegraph 158859
 @Independent 146256
 @TheTimes 52111

Total number of Tweets

 @Telegraph 155510
 @TheTimes 66905
 @Independent 43619
 @FinancialTimes 30253
 @Guardian 23029
 @TheSunNewspaper 15078

Seeing who joined Twitter first is another way to measure adaptability. Interestingly, Financial Times was the quickest to join the Twitterverse back in 2007.

Who joined first?

 @FinancialTimes 16-Apr-07
 @TheTimes 17-May-07
 @Telegraph 18-Sep-08
 @Independent 26-Oct-08
 @TheSunNewspaper 23-Apr-09
 @Guardian 05-Nov-09

Nevertheless, the quality of content is more important than quantity. Engagement rate can be measured by the relative number of retweets or replies. In these categories The Sun and the Guardian are clear leaders.

Number of Retweets per 100 tweets

 @TheSunNewspaper 3083
 @Guardian 1656
 @Independent 1402
 @FinancialTimes 394
 @Telegraph 314
 @TheTimes 137

Number of Replies per 100 tweets

 @Guardian 196
 @TheSunNewspaper 123
 @FinancialTimes 41
 @Independent 29
 @Telegraph 14
 @TheTimes 8

And what kind of content do these newspapers post? Here are the most retweeted posts for each newspaper:

Data sources:

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