Twitter PR league table ruffles industry feathers

Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 by

Anyone would think the social networking tool that is Twitter had just launched judging by the recent proliferation of media ‘tweeterings’. Newsflash: It hasn’t – Twitter is three years old Further context: Twitter has 6m users, Facebook has 150m Did this matter to any of the major newspapers who covered every ‘twangle’ during the last week of February, from ‘How to twitter’ guides, coverage on the site’s new $35m round of funding, info about its own charity event, Twestival, and even the celebrity who’s who of Twitterers (Jonathan Ross, Yoko Ono, yada yada yada…)? Not a jot. And with good reason. As a communications and public relations platform, we’re not surprised that Twitter is causing such a stir in the marcomms industry: as a networking tool, as a reputation gauge and perhaps most importantly as an almost instant means of disseminating information (to consumers and journalists) as recently witnessed in the Australian bushfires, the Hudson River crash and, erm, when Stephen Fry got stuck in a lift. However, when PR Week featured a league table of industry Twitter users, (“Twitter has suddenly exploded, February 25th), which co-incidentally also ruffled PR feathers due to inaccuracies and omissions, the feedback suggested that perhaps the magazine had missed the point… “How Twitter is used as a PR tool is surely more important than how many people use it?” “80% of our staff tweet. But the league table is meaningless which ever way you cut it. Do you measure how tweetable an agency is by the numbers of staff who tweet? Or by your number of followers, or the numbers you follow? Or how often you tweet? Surely it is about the quality of what you say on Twitter and how other people engage with conversation.”