When I started using Twitter years ago I remember wondering where the value was in this new tool. Facebook offers many of the same utilities, I thought. This is just a place for people to share what they just ate for breakfast, I thought.
Well two years later, I can see the light.
While some offer the same “I am walking out my front door” content, many Twitter users are taking advantage of its powerful opportunities.
Twitter allows communicators to distribute key messages, research topics and develop an audience simultaneously.
Even though I understand how these tactics are helpful, I am still learning the best ways to implement them. That said, here are some key ideas about Twitter that I have found to be helpful from my classwork and the blogs on my reading list.
Key messages can spread quickly and with clarity.
Getting a key message across to your audience is one of the communicator’s most important jobs. Twitter’s 140 characters provide a distinct space to get a clear idea across quickly.
A perfect example of this could be the support for Egyptian democracy shown on Twitter right now.
Beth Kanter discussed the use of #Egypt in a post about the movement. This allowed all of those interested in contributing to the Egyptian movement toward democracy to do so by including the hashtag in their tweets.
This caused a large spike in awareness and sparked discussion of the movement on the Web. Hashtags are used on a second by second basis and should be monitored for a communicator to become fully involved in a discussion.
Twitter’s speed should never be underestimated, especially in times of crisis for your organization. In her post on social media crisis management, Prya Ramesh stated: “Thou shalt deploy a round the clock Twitter monitoring schedule.”
Key messages are not only easily distributed through Twitter, but they are also easy to monitor for research.
Research is abundant, free and can create an audience.
The power that social networking represents comes from the act of sharing information and direct communication with an audience.
Content on Twitter can be sourced and questioned to provide an excellent source of research. Researching on Twitter also provides the opportunity to develop more relationships with specialists, which can lead to more far valuable sources than researching via Google presents.
Communicators can also conduct research through lists on Twitter to cultivate an audience while conducting research.
By becoming a connector on Twitter you can source information, create a community and conduct research simultaneously.
Can you think of a better research tool than that?