Arguably the most important social media tool around is Twitter. For journalists – the ones that “get it” at least – it has meant a new network of contacts, shared information and friends.
News is increasingly broken by ordinary people with iPhone Twitter apps or normal office workers sat at their desks updating Twitter by web or Gtalk and not by dashing reporters in long macs, or even agency reporters in far-flung bureaux. It is the canary in the news coal mine.
So it’s great and everybody loves it.
But where are the PRs? As Michael Cooper (@michaelcooper) rightly said a while back, “If newsdesks had Twitter at their disposal, the relationship between hacks and flacks could change dramatically”.
He says: “From instant updates like ‘Don’t bother me. I’m on deadline!’ through to ‘Looking for urgent case study about….’ journalists should be using Twitter as a tool to interact with PRs. If newsdesks are evolving into 24-hour bodies, maybe it’s time for their journalists to move away from resources like ResponseSource to a more immediate communication tool.”
Indeed. But more and more, on some national papers and forward-thinking regionals, journalists are getting it big time. Trinity Mirror seem to be leading the way in both Liverpool and Birmingham where journalists use Twitter to connect with people locally as well as to break and aggregate news. But are PR officers seizing the opportunity?
Though I know people who have, I’ve never been approached by a PR on Twitter and I would quite happily discuss story that way. Or what about sending press releases or statements out that? Downing Street does. Even the Mars Lander does.
And for PRs it could be a good career move - Todd at PR-Squared says he has hired people because they handled themselves well on Twitter.
So if you want me to write about your newspaper/website/magazine follow me and let’s start talking. And if you are in public relations and already a prolific Tweeter, get in touch and prove me wrong.
UPDATE 07-08-08 – A Twitter friend tweets to say that tech PR people are ‘all over it, unsurprisingly’. That would make sense, it’s just not something I’ve seen myself.