Personal Prattle or Crucial Chatter?

By: Kelsey Thompson

I refused to join twitter for the longest time. I vowed that I wouldn’t sign up for an account. That was a stupid — especially since it’s transforming the field of public relations.

Twitter has redefined the world of communications into a worldwide network of 140-word messages. And those messages are becoming more valuable to public relation professionals each day.

Research has found that 20 percent of tweets are about brands. It’s instantaneous promotion or damaging PR. To top it off, 45 percent of employers use social networking sites like twitter and Facebook to screen potential employees, according to CareerBuilder. Looks like future public relations practitioners better figure out how to utilize social media and they better start chirping competent, compelling comments.

As if building my resume wasn’t stressful enough, online posts could now influence my marketability. Geeze.

I was initially so daunted that once I created an account, I checked PRdaily.com obsessively to gather inspiration for my next tweet. I’d find something relevant to my interests, type a few words and insert the link to the article. It was almost as if I was hiding behind reputable industry networks so I didn’t need to create my own ideas. It was sort of like, “Hey! If they are writing about it, so should I!”  That’s quasi-noteworthy. Sure, it may attract followers with similar interests, but I couldn’t say I was responsible for any original thought. And while re-tweeting posts and including links can be beneficial (it guarantees more visibility and increases readership), I became jaded.  I remembered why I did not want to join the twitter frenzy.

Then I realized it’s more idiotic to withdraw just because I didn’t like the way I was doing something. Figure out what is not working and redesign it. I still use my account actively and I still browse the site for industry updates. While I do use it as a source for my comments, I refuse to let it curb all creativity. That’s what public relations is essentially about, right? Conceiving ideas – original ideas – creating an image, initiative that promotes and persuades individuals to the idea.

So if you want to talk about how you doodle on the back of your business card to stand out, or use magnetic letters on businesses’ elevator doors to get your message out, do it.

Maybe twitter is supposed to be more of a marketing site for companies, used for research and promotions. I could be trying to make twitter more of a personal playground than a professional public relations tool. But, hey, I’m still figuring it out. Might as well have fun while I’m at it.

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