|@Stylist_Dog "tweeting" @LondonFashionWk|
Not everyone has to be on social networks. If you don’t want to be – don’t be. It’s not useful to everyone, in fact it can even cause you problems with your privacy and become a huge waste of time. But…here are the reasons most people love them and why you might NEED them. First and foremost they’re another tool in your belt to build your career. Without them you’re just going to be beaten by the ones who do use them. Here’s why Twitter is #1:
1 Getting news before it’s ON the news. If you’re following the right people you can find out when something happens as soon as it happens. For instance if you’re following celebrities they will tweet what could be in magazines later.
2 Doing your own PR. If you’re freelance, like me, it’s important to let your contacts/potential employers know that you are constantly out there. Remind them of yourself. Show them that you’re doing things they may want you to cover for them. The more followers you have the more you’re perceived as an expert. The more followers you have the more people you reach out to when promoting your latest blog post or Youtube video.
3 Your next employer may want you to be on twitter. You will already be ahead of the game. You don’t want to start with 0 followers when the time comes. The more followers you have the easier it is to get more. The more you have the more appealing you are to an employer because they may want you to tweet about them or bring them new business.
4 Knowledge is power. “Learn Learn Learn” - said my beloved Lenin ;) ...I personally read tweets from Spanish and Italian sources to refresh my language skills. I also follow chefs to hear about food news and get recipe ideas. Fashion icons, entrepreneurs…in case I want to re-tweet something funny to entertain my followers. Social media professionals – to hear about the latest tricks and tips. Environmentalists and organic companies – to help promote their/our cause. You can follow everyone from politicians to authors, celebrities, comedians, entrepreneurs, friends etc. As their updates pop up on your tweetdeck* while you’re working – you are filled with info, you will know what most jokes are about, as well as all the news.
*Tweetdeck – a downloadable program which makes using Twitter a million times easier and more effective. It seems to work best on Apple products (not so much on my iPhone, but on a MAC - yes). Alternatives are – Uber Social and Hoot Suite. Google them to find the best choice for you.
5 Speed. Angela Rippon was right – speed isn’t everything. But it is almost everything when you’re a journalist. Facts are #1, speed is #2. In our business, as Ricky Bobby* would say: “If you’re not first, you’re last” If Twitter existed when Angela was starting out, she would undoubtedly be using it, she’s competitive and she would use all the tools in her box. She won her award because she was first to report on the breakdown of Soviet Union. She also had great sources…these days you can use twitter to develop relationships with sources too. Use twitter for immediate news on anything you’re interested in. Trusted sources like BBC and CNN are constantly updating and you need to be in the know. You can even get a message to your phone when someone that really interests you tweets. While we’re on the topic of Angela, at the risk of sounding like someone who holds a grudge or something…I want to stress again: she’s a legend, I have nothing on her, but radio is not a substitute for twitter, none of us have the luxury of listening for the breaking news on the radio all day. But a tweet from someone you want to hear from you can receive as an SMS as soon as it’s sent. Besides, if something’s already on the radio, everyone’s already reporting it. FOLLOW THOSE WHO CAN BE YOUR SOURSES depending on your specialty, and you’ll hear it straight from the horses mouth. Just be sure to check your facts.
*Talladega Nights reference – Youtube it
6 Jobs. Follow career agencies in specific areas to get the latest job offers, as well as companies you might want to work for…you will be the first to know if a job has come up.
7 Experts. When you’re looking for them for your stories, use twitter. One of the students I just gave a lecture to in Lincoln also told me about #journorequest a hashtag which allows PR’s to help you with finding what/who you need for your story.
8 Interview. A media company I recently encountered in Serbia uses Twitter to interview celebrities and get more followers. You can do the same. It’s fast and people love it. #TwitterInterview you can get in touch with the guy who started it and tell him you’ve heard about it from me @So_BFM…he’ll be flattered: @Stojakovics
9 Fallback career. Tweeting is micro-blogging. Don’t replace blogging with twitter, but you CAN use it as such. Tweet what you’d like to be reporting on. I also use it to make some extra cash. If you know how to tweet you can teach businesses how to use twitter to attract new clients and do their own PR. It can be a great way to get your foot in the door at media companies you might want to work for. It’s a fun job and it can lead to other positions within media. Many are hiring someone just to tweet for them and many companies still don’t know how to use twitter, it’s an opportunity for you to come in.
10 Fun. Twitter is new videos, music, jokes, friendly banter...it's a blast. Just make sure you don't get addicted like I did. I had to limit myself to an hour a day. If there's a rehab for video games, soon there will be one for twitter...mark my words.