Archive for February, 2009

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A “twang” to my “tweeps”: Why PR professionals should develop a Twitter presence

February 13, 2009

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I was initially skeptical of Twitter.

Twitter Screen Shot

I feel guilty when I update my Facebook status more than two times a day, so the thought of sending consistent updates to the world was overwhelming.  I wondered what I could “tweet” to reach out to friends, classmates, acquaintances and strangers in a meaningful way.

It didn’t take long to realize Twitter is about so much more than 140 characters.  It’s more than what you’re having for breakfast, who you’re meeting for an afternoon cup of coffee or why you’re upset with the service you received at the car dealership.

As public relations practitioners turn to social media strategies to reach client objectives, it is important to recognize Twitter as an effective way for individuals to brand themselves.  As a student or professional, developing a presence on Twitter can open windows of opportunities both personally and professionally.

I’m nowhere near “Twitter guru” status, but I am slowly learning to appreciate the doors it can open.

Here’s my list of the reasons why any aspiring public relations professional should join Twitter:

  • Twitter allows you to network with friends, family, faculty, coworkers and sources you may never connect with otherwise.

Twitter gives you the ability to expand your social network  by following individuals and organizations with similar interests.  Be sure to fill out the “bio” section of your Twitter home page to ensure that users can find you through key terms.  The Public Relations Matters blog shares strategy on choosing whom to follow.

  • Twitter serves as a resource.

Sure, Twitter gives you the ability to share information with the masses through your tweets.  Why not learn a thing or two yourself while you’re at it?  I never knew I’d get breaking news about the Southwest Flight 273 emergency landing from the Zappos.com CEO, but I did.  You’ll be surprised by what you can learn.Zappos

  • You have the ability to promote your passion.

Twitter allows you to “brand” yourself by letting your personality shine through your posts.  You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a person in 140 characters!  It’s also a great way to promote student groups, professional development organizations or other groups you may be affiliated with.  The Public Relations Student Society of America Kent Chapter is on Twitter, and many of the executive board members promote meetings and the blog through their pages.

  • It teaches you to write “tight.”

Each of my professors in Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication teaches students to write concisely.  If you can make your point in one sentence, don’t try to drag it on for three sentences.  Twitter doesn’t give you a choice; you only have 140 characters to get your point across.  Practice makes perfect, right?

  • Twitter allows you to “cross pollinate” your social media elements.

We’re all about convergence at Kent State, and Twitter is a great way to “cross pollinate” your messages.  You can link your Twitter page to your blog or Facebook page, or you can even use your Twitter account as a tool to direct audiences to your social networking sites.

  • Twitter gives you an excuse to incorporate cheesy slang into your daily vocabulary.

If I didn’t have a Twitter account, I wouldn’t be able to use words such as “twang,” (a tweet from someone in the South) or “tweep” (a Twitter friend.)  My vocabulary would obviously be bland if I didn’t log on to Twitter every day.

So what are you waiting for?  If you don’t have a Twitter account, create one now.  If you have an account, muster up every ounce of bravery and write a tweet.  If you need some direction on what to write, I’d recommend Angela’s 70:20:10 formula.

Don’t forget to become my tweep while you’re at it!

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