I’ve been on the micro-blogging site Twitter for a few months. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Twitter allows you to stay in touch by sending short messages that can be no longer than 140 characters. I joined after learning that a growing number of journalists were using the site to post story updates and field story pitches. Since I’m in the marketing communications arena, I felt that Twitter was another way for me to stay in the game.
So far, I love it. I log in several times a day and send messages, called Tweets, about a range of topics. What’s also great is that I can follow and communicate with thought leaders in a variety of industries; get a quick check of news headlines; and talk with family and friends. You also can restrict your page and just follow a select group of people. No matter your choice, what’s impressive is that these short bursts of messages are an avenue to build community.
In light of the developing hurricane in the Gulf Coast, a number of people and media outlets are using Twitter to provide storm updates. CNN reporter Rick Sanchez even asked residents in the Gulf Coast to send him updates on Twitter during a newscast and read their Tweets live on the air.
Twitter as a public service tool is just one illustration of the uses for this platform that extend beyond the type of product or service being offered. To give you an example, if I were a representative from a church or school, I would use Twitter as a communications vehicle. Can you imagine the benefits of parents following their child’s teacher (and each other) on Twitter, connecting their resources and discussing ways to provide a better learning experience for students? How about a pastor being able to communicate with congregants and congregants with each other throughout the week?
Companies also are using Twitter to promote products and services and to extend their customer service reach by responding to comments (found by a Twitter search tool called a Tweet Scan) referencing their organizations – good or bad. You can see examples of how businesses are using Twitter on the pages of http://twitter.com/msgreen; http://twitter.com/comcastcares; http://twitter.com/wholefoods; http://twitter.com/delloutlet.
There are a lot of social networking platforms on the market and every vehicle isn’t made for every person or business. Instead of Twitter, you might be more drawn to MySpace, Facebook, blogging, or use multiple platforms at once. Do whatever works best for your needs, and of course, presents the best opportunity to build community.
If you do decide to join Twitter, or you’re already on, feel free to follow me via @KristinaBrandy. I’ll connect with you as well. That’s what it’s all about.
About Kristina Hill
An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.
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