I was reading today, as per my regular caffeine-fueled morning ritual, and I happened to come across a rather interesting article in The Globe and Mail (to which this article owes its name).
I was intrigued by what the author had to say, since I myself am an avid “tweeter” (otherwise known as a Twitter participant, in case you weren’t aware). I guess those who still have yet to grasp social media—its various forms and tools—are still trying to figure out what Twitter is, how it might be used and why.
If you’re one of the uninitiated, just go to Google and type in, “What is Twitter.” The first response that comes up offers a pretty clear explanation: Twitter, a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time.
The focus of this piece is Twitter’s ability to follow news items in real time, such as the most recent terrorist attack in Mumbai. In his article, Mathew Ingram speaks about tracking this unfolding story using all of the social media formats—blogs, youtube, flickr, etc.—to gather a steady stream of news from people close to the source. There is one school of thought that speaks of the authenticity and veracity of real time messaging as many messages go up so fast that they cannot be verified. But as quickly as these unverified, slightly skewed conversations occur, there is a stream of people that can equally weed out the fiction from the fact. For some, the question then becomes whether the information being received is valid and does that make Twitter a valid news source? However, in all fairness, much of the information reported on cable news is also unverified and in need of correction. The brilliance arrives at the end of the article where Mathew says “Twitter reports are a valuable “first draft of history” and that is a pretty great definition of news”.
One of the real challenges for firms like mine is to find a way to spread the news that social media and social messaging is a form of spreading the news on as many topics, ideas and thoughts as one can imagine. And all of this information can best be shared by the use of this social messaging utility. Did these companies and their decision makers hear, read and see that Twitter is free? In a conversation I had with a brilliant and successful executive the other day, we talked about channels for the launch of a new marketing/PR mandate. Ultimately, the first thought that came to their mind was to get media coverage in a publication such as The Globe and Mail. Wonder if they’re aware that The Globe and Mail, a very important and respected news source that they want to have cover all of their PR initiatives, is actually encouraging all of their readers to follow them on Twitter?
Imagine the number of people that would have 24/7 access to their news if they participated in a process that allowed them to announce initiatives in real-time to a global audience—instead of limiting themselves to a predominately Canadian business focused market. What about all the media, communities and passionate people who are looking to join in and spread the word about, and for, like minded products, services ideas and values. Just imagine how the use of social media tools, such as Twitter, could lead a public relations campaign. Best of all, the money spent on utilizing traditional media sources could be spent setting up an infrastructure that would cost them nothing more than the time it takes to type 100 words or less. Just imagine it…..tweet…. tweet…..tweet.
Click on this link to read Mathew Ingram’s article.