Friday, 13 February 2009

Abchicks and the Twitterati

Ever since Chris Moyles and Phillip Schofield joined Twitter last week, the UK buzz surrounding the microblogging site has been growing. You can’t turn on the radio or pick up a newspaper without someone talking about it. Even @StephCuthbert has become a prolific Twitterer (tweeter?) this week and she’s not even sure what it’s all about. Although Twitter is by no means new, now that even more high profile media figures are endorsing Twitter as “the next big thing” it looks like the UK is finally ready to jump on the bandwagon. Twitter is going UK mainstream and Abchurch is floating on up with it.

So what’s it all about?

Thanks @CommonCraft!

Twitter is such a great platform for communicating and sharing ideas and because each ‘tweet’ is limited to 140 characters people get to the point very quickly (and usually with a good helping of wit). This is really useful to gather and spread information fast. People were tweeting during the inauguration, various earthquakes, the Mumbai attacks, today’s Buffalo plane crash and much more. It’s a brilliant way of getting real time information from a variety of sources and Twitter is fast becoming a source for breaking news.

I won’t continue to extol the virtues of Twitter here, but I’ve been a glittering member of the Twitterati for nearly a year and these are the things I love about it:

• Connecting with people who are so interesting and helpful, but who I might never have otherwise come across
• It’s easier to follow a couple of hundred people on Twitter than read two hundred different blogs
• There’s a constant stream of new and engaging content, interesting conversations to join and useful web links. It simply doesn’t stop
• It’s great when you share something and someone on another continent who you have never met before replies. (I just had a reply from a Japanese seamstress in Tokyo who hand embroiders kimonos. Where would I ever meet her in real life?)
• If you have a bizarre question, chances are someone out there will have the answer.
• There is freedom to reply to anyone. While I would never write a letter to Stephen Fry, I’ll happily reply to one of his tweets and @stephenfry is brilliant at keeping a dialogue with his fans, as is @Schofe.
• It makes me laugh out loud at least once a day
• It’s totally current and these days, speed is your best friend.

But what use is Twitter to PR? There are already so many blog posts about how to use Twitter for business and it can help enormously with branding etc., but in terms of knowledge and relationships I personally find Twitter is a brilliant tool for helping me do my job.

• With all the national newspapers on Twitter, it’s a one stop shop for news feeds. By following national papers and other newsfeeds, I will often see as soon a story breaks.
• I also like to follow journalists, their tweets often have great tips for PRs pitching ideas by virtue of the fact that they regularly tweet about how PRs screw up. Note to self: don’t do that. Journos also tweet about stories they are writing or questions they need answered. @charlesarthur and @harrymccracken are great journalist Twitterers
• I follow loads of industry channels so I get a constant stream of industry news – great for keeping me informed of issues that might be relevant to my clients.
• I also follow many media and tech trailblazers like Michael Arrington @TechCrunch and @GuyKawasaki – those guys that were using Twitter years ago are the ones who will decide which apps will take off tomorrow.
• Other PRs are also great to follow, they often point to interesting blog posts or other sites and the seasoned pros have great tips that are so useful. Their anecdotal industry chat is also pretty amusing. It’s amazing what you can fit into 140 characters.

In case you can’t tell, I'm a pretty huge advocate of Twitter! I’m not using all the features and functionality yet and I still think it’s great, so the possibilities are probably endless. I totally get a kick when I am followed by massively influential people like @stephenfry and @barakobama (and also for those in the know, @guykawasaki, @scobleizer and @chrisbrogan). They care about what I have to say and I think therein lies the greatest benefit of Twitter. It gives you a voice, and it gives you an audience. As long as you play by the rules, it seems like win-win to me.


1 comment:

  1. On my twitter feed this morning:

    charlesarthur: Email arrives from PR company. "Hi X," it begins. MailMerge, what hast thou wrought?