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In the shadow of Facebook, Twitter loses traction with publishers

Social publishing is becoming a zero-sum game. As media companies clamor for reader attention on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, there’s one place that’s getting less attention: Twitter.

When it created a 10-person team to go after Instagram users, millennial publisher Mic pulled people from graphics, edit and yes, Twitter. Matt Karolian, director of audience engagement at The Boston Globe, said the Globe used to spend a lot more time live tweeting in past election cycles. But this time, the main focus was engaging people on Facebook, because, he said, “It’s all happening on Facebook.”

Twitter’s woes are nothing new, but it has long had legions of boosters in media companies, filled with Twitter-crazed journalists who spend an inordinate amount of time tweeting news tidbits, trawling for information or simply procrastinating.

Now, Twitter has “lost the attention battle,” said Paul Berry, founder and CEO of RebelMouse, which helps publishers amplify their content on social. “Five, 10 years ago, there was a lot of emphasis building Twitter followings, traffic. For new media companies, Twitter is the afterthought and the side job. It used to be one person on Facebook, one person on Twitter, and now it’s three people on Facebook and half a person on Twitter.”

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