Twitterati – It’s Not How Many Use It; It’s How It’s Used

There’s an awful lot to say about Twitter. Far more words than this little 140-word max micro-blogger would ever allow are being bandied about by a motley crew of observers in countless media forums, at corporate lunch tables, and from comfy coffee shop sofas. Whether it’s a fascination with what celebs are (or are not) Tweeting; or a conversation about why Gen Y remains conspicuously absent from the growing fan-base (and I guess I am old enough to be okay with the adult world venturing into a digital room without the kids for at least a little while!), or today’s hot political jabber (and related CNN coverage) about the influence of Twitter on the poli-social doings of the Iranian people and government, we’re all a’twitter (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself) with the possibilities, the limitations, and the speculations of this new way of interacting.

Most of the dialogue focuses on the numbers of folks using the application – the rate of adoption if you will. But the real intrigue of the story is actually not so much how many are on Twitter, but how the current Twitter-elite use this fascinating tool. Twitter allows influencers to converse and build consensus in a way that is not happening on Facebook. Whether or not millions are using the service, if the people who use it are using it to influence, to change, to invite conversation (and from the media buzz folks, clearly, it’s a workable strategy) then we’ve got something slightly revolutionary on our hands.

The Twitter Elite, an interesting concept. In our organization, for example, one of our designers just finished off the sleek new graphic design to festoon our CEO’s Twitter page and commented to him, “Welcome to the Twitterati.” And I had to laugh, because right now – those of us who Twitter, even if it links to our Facebook status, have a certain sense of “ahead of the pack” that intrigues me.

Where this all fits for public relations is (obviously) in the relationships that are being borne via this and other social media. And that has yet to totally pan out. For example, in a matter of days, I’ve already gone from following celebrated personalities in my professional sphere, to being their fan on Facebook, to being confirmed as their friend on Facebook. This progression of relationship is totally unique – and suggests a new way of engaging age-old ways of mixing and mingling, professional networking, and certainly influencing in the future.

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