Social media lessons from the Doce Fire

Continuing with the Doce fire…

We’re now three days into the coverage period and Tweet frequency has really gone down:docefire005

The peak is June 19 at 1 p.m. — 234 Tweets per hour. There’s a 139-Tweet hour at 5 p.m. on the 20th — right after the incident management team’s afternoon press briefing ended — but the differences between the hills and the valleys is getting smaller. There’s a flurry of activity today at 11 a.m., but interest has faded as the danger to homes has faded.

So what can we learn?

1. Broadcast, as usual in the Phoenix market, does a better job of breaking news than print. Eight of the top 10 Tweeters using the accepted hashtag “#docefire”  are from broadcast outlets.

2. The statewide paper missed an opportunity to inexpensively plant a flag in the outstate. The Arizona Republic’s online story had five reporters on the byline. Not one of them was in the top 10 in Tweets (I spoke to a former colleague there who said “We had a lot of reporters on it, but none of them are big Tweeters.”). How about the main @azcentral channel? 21 Tweets on the fire from it (@myfoxphoenix, which everyone in Tweets about a large breaking news event, had 85 fire-related Tweets. ). Ahead of the newspaper in the list of people tweeting more frequently include three Prescott “civilians.” The tragedy here is in reach. The Republic’s main Twitter handle has 40,000 followers — more than any other Arizona media, more, even, than the state’s governor (she has about 38,000).  The paper’s 26 Tweets hit more than 1 million timelines (Tweet x followers). That’s a lot of coverage that wasn’t driven right to your website.

3. The RT Effect is in full force during breaking news: Of the 3,515 #docefire Tweets since the incident began, 54 percent have been RTs. Original content goes far and the RT Effect gives newsbrands the ability to expand their potential viewership.