Today in Melanie's PR class, we learned how to use Twitter. I've been using Twitter for about six months now, as @MissJenh. I started to follow @postsecret but kept with it after I realized just how useful it was. Around the time of the Iranian election was when I started checking it every single day. Twitter was an invaluable resource for the Iranian people at that time, and I found myself worrying when the people I followed stopped updating. Were they arrested? Or even killed? Several accounts stopped updating long ago, and I was told by a friend that, that was because Iran cut off the internet in the country...but I fear something worse happened to them. I know for sure one of the people behind @persiankiwi was arrested, but I believe they were later released. I found they were the best source for news on the protests in Iran. I really got behind their fight, and even changed my time zone to Tehran time (and kept it there until yesterday in fact) to help throw off the Iranian government, who were looking for these brave individuals.
Now I use it to get my news, and to get a good giggle on occasion from @simonpegg and @ThatKevinSmith. I follow folks at the Winnipeg Free Press, but my favourite news source on Twitter is @shortformblog. It gives the news in one sentence format, and provides a link to the actual news story, should you choose to read it in full. It's a great way to get news on the go.
It has only been recently that I've started communicating with people I know "in person" on Twitter. Before that, my own updates were infrequent and I used it to get my news. But now I'm communicating with people I know more and more, so I feel like I am getting more out of Twitter than I was before. I think it is useful for PR folks, and other people in the communication industry, because it allows you to get your message out to a number of people, very quickly. You are not relying on the mass media to get your message out, so you can do it on your own terms, albeit in 140 characters or less. You can provide useful links to your followers about what your organization stands for, and advertise products. I think taking advantage of social networking is essential to getting your organization off the ground. Why would one turn down the chance to spread the word, promote and advertise their organization? I think in this day and age it would be foolish not to take advantage of Twitter.
My Twitter account is used both recreationally and professionally. I follow a large variety of people, and tweet about school stuff, link to things online I find interesting, and stuff about day to day life. Since starting CreComm, I have tried to keep my own personal tweets fairly work safe, meaning free of course language (difficult because I can have quite the sailor mouth and it has been difficult to keep this blog free of curse words), nudity, and the like. I've become fairly devoted, and at least skim through every tweet I receive on my home page, and check it at least once a day.
I hope to see you all on Twitter, and if you have any people you think I should be following...let me know!