And the tweet goes on…

05Mar09

Adapted from an original post at Shiny Red’s blog – (link)

After last week’s Twitter agency audit in PR Week which missed out Red and Shiny Red, the team there were kind enough to ask my boss, Helen to take part in a panel discussion on how PRs are using the tool.

On Monday, she debated the subject on camera with Edelman’s Marshall Manson and Weber Shandwick’s Simon Collister. As you’ll see from the resulting webcast all three were in broad agreement on Twitter’s ability to connect us to people in new ways whether its clients, bloggers, journalists or communities.

They also talked about the fact that despite all the hype, Twitter is still a minority pursuit. Globally it’s the third largest social network after Facebook and MySpace, but according to Wikipedia it still has only 6m users worldwide.

As mentioned by Helen in the clip, it’s important to think about Twitter as part of the mix within a social media strategy that could also include blogger outreach, forums, and content creation: it is not the only answer. Can it help us as PR professionals build relationships share information, connect in new ways? Absolutely, if you want to put the effort in. But not everyone does. We’ve recently seen trawls of 50 comments responding to an article on Twitter on one of the big portals, and four our of five were negative, along the lines of: “what a waste of time…saddos who should get a life…go out and meet people instead”. [LW: Funny they’re making those comments on a website!]

It comes down to a simple PR truth: if you want to connect with your audience, you have to use the right route. Twitter works well when it’s used smartly, and it’s an exciting new part of the comms toolkit, but for all the noise around it right now it’s not a panacea.

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