Twitter: Mass Culture Barometer?
So argues Marco Della Cava of USA Today. USA Today! To see Twitter featured as the cover story of one of the largest national newspapers certainly sums it up for me. But as an avid Twitter user (and a die-hard believer in its power), I agree with Della Cava’s opinion that there’s a lot more to Twitter than once met the eye. Since its launch in 2006, the social media network (for lack of a better, more accurately descriptive term) has evolved from a relatively misunderstood communication tool, to a business and pop culture phenomenon. There are few products out there, tangible or otherwise, that can claim such a broad market reach – not to mention, an indisputable level of engagement, trust and influence. I’m not so sure even Facebook can compare at this level.
Think about it: Twitter has allowed CEOs, celebrities, entrepreneurs, bloggers, journalists, struggling artists and average Joes and Janes alike to share a common space, lead and participate in conversations and ultimately reach out to one another regardless of any physical or social boundary. It has empowered consumers and brands alike and significantly propelled an understanding of the need for corporate transparency. On the same token, it has allowed less-prominent figures to serve as their own publicist and distribute their message(s) from a first-person account.
As a public relations practitioner, I find it imperative to constantly be in the know. I receive news alerts on my iPhone, check the NY Times website religiously, sign up for Google Alerts, and comb various websites in search of what’s happening here and now. Over the past year, I’ve found myself using Twitter more and more as a search engine. It allows me to gauge my brand’s penetration, as well as the messaging put out by competitors and influencers within the industry. Moreover, I’ve also learned of breaking news through Twitter – both national and local – more quickly than on Google or CNN. For someone like me, Twitter has truly become the quintessential communications tool.
How do you use Twitter? And how do you think such use will evolve in the next year or so?
To borrow a question from Della Cava, if something isn’t tweeted, did it happen?