For this week’s post, I’m looking at how a consumer magazine is using social media: what platforms are being utilized, what information is being provided, and how successful and social the magazine is in relaying its messages and interacting with its publics. I’ve chosen to focus on Runner’s World.
Runner’s World (RW) has many platforms. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and has forums and multiple blogs. Beginning with the first three, there is very little dialogic communication that occurs. Tumblr just posts pictures of their magazine covers, beautiful running-related pictures, or pictures with running-related mottos and quotes. While this is fun to look at occasionally, there’s not much going on there.
Facebook and Twitter pretty much post the same information: links to articles, blog posts by fellow RW employees, quotes, tips, and basically everything you’d expect from a running magazine. RW occasionally asks questions, like what was your favorite sign you’ve seen during a race, to engage its public. There are many fans that comment, “like” Facebook posts, and retweet amazing, motivational stories provided by RW, but RW doesn’t reply. Rather, it just spills out information and the public responds. I find the employment of these social media platforms okay and mediocre. The stories provided are interesting and inspirational, but RW could use more two-way communication to pump runners up. However, RW does make up for the lack of dialogic communication in different ways.
Though RW’s twitter is only informational, it does direct you to employee twitters or another division of RW. For instance, RW directs you to RW columnist Alex Hutchinson, who provides information on the science of running and will reply to any questions. He also has his own blog on the RW website. RW also has the twitter account @RWHalf, where people can talk about the Runner’s World half marathon in Pennsylvania. So while the general RW social media platforms are mainly informative, you can find twitter accounts that are catered to certain areas like health and training, which are more dialogic.
In addition, RW does blogs really well. Instead of having one blog, it actually has a specialization of blogs. There is a blog for beginners, trail running, nutrition, blogs where you can asks questions, and so forth. You can find them here. These are helpful as you can narrow down which blog you actually want to read about. Some of these bloggers have twitter accounts as well, so you can go and talk to them directly. Aside from blogs, there are also forums on the RW website, which have different categories. There, fellow runners help each other out and share stories.
Being the biggest and leading running magazine company, I think RW does a good job. It’s not excellent, but if you’re a running fanatic, you’re probably following their social media to be hyped up and motivated by reading such articles like this and reading tips. If they want to really chat with other runners, RW does direct them to the right people. It just takes a little more work to find, but it’s not that difficult.
The only other running magazine I can compare RW to is Running Times, which has a Facebook, Twitter, and a few employee blogs. Running Times utilizes Facebook and Twitter the same way, however they have less activeness by fans. While Running Times has about 27 likes on a Facebook post, RW will have likes in the thousands. Though this may have to do with Running Times being a much smaller magazine. The blogs on Running Times aren’t specific either like how RW has a blog for such topics as tips, nutrition, and trail running. Running Time blogs are more general.