Here’s the strange tale of Blair and More! magazine. Blair is a fashion blogger who picked up a copy of More! magazine, didn’t like what she saw, and tweeted it.
More! then retweeted Blair’s critical opinions to their 11,000-plus followers – along with a couple of tweets that Blair had directed at a friend.
Blair explains “(The ‘tee hee’ at the top is in response to someone saying I ‘must feel stupid’ now. Sorry, More!, but I feel quite the opposite.)”
It’s a curious example of how Twitter can be used by a magazine. The platform is notoriously difficult to use as ‘an institution’. Who is @moremagazine? Is it ‘the brand’ speaking? The editor? A journalist? The publisher? Or someone on work experience? Is it the reader community?
Depending on your answer to the above, the tweets and retweets relating to Blair’s criticism can be anything ranging from a stain on the brand to a platform for readers’ opinions.
Blair puts it particularly well, and I leave the last word to her:
“It’s an incredibly interesting example of how the internet, and in particular the advent of social networking and the recent ubiquity of Twitter, has changed the interaction between publications and their readers in a relatively short space of time.
“Ten, even five years ago, something like this would have been unimaginable. Negative feedback would have either been ignored or taken on board and used to make changes, not advertised publicly so it could be mocked by other readers. (Not that this was actually feedback, of course; it would have to have been directed at the magazine for that, and it wasn’t.)
“On a larger scale, the recent Danny Dyer/Zoo magazine controversy is a great example of the changing relationship between magazines and their readers, a case in which the outrage of Twitter users and bloggers prompted public apologies and the sacking of Dyer.
“Is this change a good or bad thing? While I’d prefer my personal comments not to have been reposted like this, I can’t help but think it’s good; a strange sort of equality, in which readers and consumers are gaining power. I also can’t help but think if even a handful of people saw my comments and thought I had a point, this particular stunt has backfired on More! magazine.”