I recently met a non-profit organization that three others and I are working with as our client for a PR campaigns class. When asking the members of this organization about their feelings regarding social media and its value in the philanthropic sector, we received interesting but not surprising responses.
Some of the participants voiced concern regarding social media and professionalism while others simply couldn’t understand why anyone would care what someone else ‘was doing.’
Since the purpose of this focus group was to listen and gather information rather than tell them what I thought of social media, I had to keep my lips zipped and responses strictly to notepad for future use with the campaign to help answer their questions.
Fortunately, Brian Solis, author of PR 2.0 and Principal of FutureWorks, a PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley addressed this very topic in a post titled, ‘On Twitter, What Are You Doing Was Always The Wrong Question.’
In his post, Solis makes several insightful comments regarding the use of Twitter and how it is that engagement should be executed. He summarizes major themes of the most popular social media platforms and discusses the meaning behind Twitter changing its 140-character prompt question.
In regard to the other platforms, Solis summarized them like this:
Twitter = what are we doing
Facebook = what we are sharing or reviewing
MySpace = what we are in to
LinkedIn = what’s in it for me…
Solis goes on to conclude that Twitter evolved into ‘What’s happening?’ versus ‘What are you doing?’ because the evolution of the platforms purpose became more clear.
Solis went on to state that, ‘Regardless of character count, the true revelation is that in order to inspire new insights from its community, the real question we should all answer is, “what do you think everyone is better off for knowing right here, right now.”’
I personally think that the good tweets I get are those that tell me information I didn’t already know or that share with me a link or description of what that person found, discovered or learned. I like the descriptions that Solis provided and agree that Twitter has evolved. Nobody cares what someone is doing at any given time unless that tweet contributes to the followers.
What are the differences between your first impressions of Twitter and what you think about it now? Do you agree with the summaries of the other platforms? Do you think that Twitter should explain more than ‘what is happening?’