What is a “Tweet” you might ask? I didn’t know what it was either, until five days ago when I decided to see what all the fuss was about and I signed up for a Twitter account.
Then I learned that a “Tweet” is a update that answers the question “What are you doing?” A “Tweet” can only be a post of 140 characters or less. When you are tweeting it is like microblogging because you have such a limited amount of space. However you can use that small amount of space to sound of about anything. These “Tweets” and Twitter have helped change how social media communicates today.
As of November 2008 over one billion “Tweets” have been recorded on twitter.com. TechCrunch blogger Robin Wauter reports that Twitter boasts over 6 million active users to Facebooks 120 million . Even though the number of users is considerably less then Facebook, Twitter users have influential voices especially in technology says BusinessWeek’s article Beyond Blogs .
So this made me wonder how can I use a “Tweet” or Twitter successfully as a PR practitioner? Luckily, I ran across this interesting blog, PR’s guide to Twitter. Immediately I thought (Jackpot) I am a new user and I want to know what everyone is raving about. How will Twitter be able to help me now? and also in my future?
Here are some of the blogs quick tips for PR practiconers when using Twitter as not only a personal but professional tool. (Courtesy of Drew B of course.)
- Research– (Reminds me of the R.O.P.E theory) Twitter can track issues for you by just using search.twitter.com for any topic. Not only will you see live updates but you can also find people that are specialists in a specific area of study.
- Storytelling– If you need help telling a story ask for it using Twitter. Twitter can help narrow your search so you know where to look before you go digging. You can also ask questions to your followers thus receiving instant feedback.
- Networking– In almost every job networking is a necessity especially for PR practitioners. Twitter can help you find people you already know and people you would like to know. You can find common interests with your peers and keep a eye on what events you might all be attending.
- Promoting– Make sure this is done tactfully you don’t want your message to be confused with spam. If you have to do PR for a product and you think that people will want to follow news about it then post it on Twitter. Sites like TwitterFeed will convert RSS (a way to get updates on blog entries, news headlines audio and video) into “Tweets”.
- Recruiting– Twitter can help you on any project you just have to ask. Your contacts could pass your message to their contacts and then your question could go even further. Also people have been known to use Twitter to sniff around for a new job too. In the article posted by BussinessWeek 23-year-old Amanda Mooney “tweets” that “her new resume is only 140 characters long” after she landed a new job in PR using Twitter.
With all of the upsides to Twitter, I asked myself how did I not “tweet” before? I am happy that I have found it now.
Even though Twitter isn’t exactly a rare jewel anymore, I did feel obligated to share some of its perks with you. I am sure some of you might be in the same boat as me and weren’t quite sure how to best utilize Twitters functions.
After doing some research about Twitter I have found some other sites that give some good feedback on Twitter as well. Check them out: Newbies Guide to Twitter, The Twitter-guide and Bursting the Twitter bubble .
As young PR practitioners it would be dumb not to spend some time utilizing this tool and collaborating together now!
Time is a’tickin! In a couple of months we will be practicing what we preach.
So hopefully we all will be Tweeting by then, if you aren’t already!