Heather Platisha, LCI account executive, and yes, I use Twitter.
Truth be told, when I first came to use Twitter it, was purely for the occasional entertainment. I found celebrities, gossip blogs and friends to follow. At the same time, I started hearing that more and more journalists are using Twitter as a source for building stories and I began investigating the site’s usefulness for myself.
I started by searching for Tweeters that are in public relations and to my surprise, found a lot of interesting people tweeting. Laurel Touby of MediaBistro uses Twitter, Profnet is on Twitter and Jason Kintzler of Pitch Engine uses Twitter, just to name a few. I added these people to my “following” list and immediately started to see their updates. Sometimes the updates would be random information around something they were doing at that moment, and other times I would learn something very useful for our industry. For example, Elena Verlee (Twitter handle pajamasPr), a PR pro in Canada and someone who I have been following for a couple of months, recently posted a link to a list of free press release distribution Web sites.
If PR professionals are using Twitter, then journalists should be using it, too, right?
I recently listened to an audio conference where journalists voiced their opinions about Twitter and discussed how they use it to generate stories and ideas. The general consensus from the reporters was that while pitching stories on Twitter isn’t a bad idea, the site is mainly a way for reporters to learn about conversations that are taking place and a source for gathering information. Email is still the best way to pitch them.
Since I started utilizing Twitter as a professional resource, I have found colleagues that are sharing insights around our industry, as well as reporters who are sharing thoughts about what is happening within the media industry today.
For whatever reason you use Twitter, there is no doubt that you will learn a lot about who you are following in a very short amount of time.
*If you want people to start following you, update your status or “Tweet” regularly. Similar to blog postings, your Twitter rating goes up based on the amount of Tweets you post. If you are only updating once a day or even once a week, it is likely that the Twitter community won’t regard you as a serious participant.
*Direct Messages, or DM’s, can only be sent to those that are following you on Twitter.
*Following too many people and no one is following you? This often translates to the Twitter community that you are a spammer, which means that you will likely be ignored.
*Re-Tweet, or RT, is when someone you follow has posted something interesting and you repost it in your update. This generates more conversation, considered to be the highest form of compliment on Twitter and could garner you more recognition within the community.
Twitter isn’t a perfect site and is often overpopulated. There can be over 6 million people using the site at the same time, but don’t be discouraged. There are ways to access your account without logging onto the site:
*TweetDeck: A desktop application created with Adobe Air which allows users to filter and group their own and others’ tweets.
*Tweetie: An iPhone application allows users to access and update multiple Twitter accounts at the same time.
*Twitterrific: Also for the iPhone, this is an application allowing users to access Twitter and post tweets.
*TwitterBerry: Allows users to update their Twitter from their Blackberries.
*Twittley: The first Twitter social news website made for people to discover and share content through a Twitter network, by submitting, voting and commenting on links and stories.
Happy Tweeting everyone!
*’pajamaspr : Elena Verlee runs an international PR company and hosts a blog: http://www.prinyourpajamas.com/about-elena
*’publicityguru: Bill Stoller is a PR veteran and publishes the “Free Publicity Newsletter”. http://www.publicityinsider.com/
*’Profnet: Maintained by Maria Perez, this Tweeter reposts urgent reporter queries and other news of interest.
*’pitchengine: Jason Kintzler is the Founder and CEO of PitchEngine. PitchEngine shakes up the PR industry making it possible for PR pros, brands, and agencies to build and share digital, social media releases with their contacts for free. http://www.pitchengine.com/
*’leangreenmom: Leah Ingram is a freelance writer, author and runs a blog called, Suddenly Frugal. She often reposts news of interest as well as queries around articles she is working on. http://suddenlyfrugal.wordpress.com/
*’dllandis: David Landis President and CEO of Landis Communications brings over 20 years of PR experience to the table. www.landispr.com
*’annebuchanan: Anne Buchanan is part of the PRGN network and runs her agency, Buchanan Public Relations, out of South Philadelphia. http://www.buchananpr.com/