What is Twitter? In Twitter’s own words they describe the social network as something that helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. Twitter say that Twitter allows people to stay in touch with friends and family, follow what’s happening in your neighbourhood, your profession or your hobby and to understand life from the perspective of actors, musicians or sports stars.
One of Twitter’s strengths lies in its ability to disseminate succinct information in real time. Twitter only allows posts of 140 characters so everyone has to be succinct and to the point. Because the length of a tweet is so short, it is easy to broadcast news quickly. A study by University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics found that while traditional newswires still dominate the dissemination game, Twitter scoops old media on certain stories, usually large ones dealing with sports, major disasters, and sometimes riots.
Another strength is Twitters ability to connect like-minded people together virtually. It is a more refined version of a chat room. People can be watching a sporting game live and connect with someone watching the same sporting game from their lounge room – they can celebrate together or commiserate and bond over their similar interests.
So how can we utilise these strengths to promote an organisation. The organisation I work for uses Twitter in a variety of ways – we have four accounts.
- One account is run by the CEO – he will tweet regularly about his movements – because of his high profile people want to understand life from his perspective – because of his profile he can advocate the organisation from his own perspective.
- The second account is used for distributing media releases, audio and video content and is aimed at interacting with and informing journalists, politicians and other associations, as well as the general public. This account only discusses the organisations official positions.
- Our third Twitter account distributes all material that appears in each edition of our internal news publication. The publication is issued fortnightly and is very extensive. It includes what the organisation has been advocating, as well as what is happening nationally, politically and internationally in the health space. This account is aimed at engaging members and the general public.
- The last account targets a select group of members and is coordinated more like a public forum. It is a space where they can discusses changes, ideas and concerns with each other facilitated by information that we distribute.
I have found these methods to be effective in promoting our organisation. We talk to media to spread news, we discuss health topics with like-minded people and raise our profile, and we provide insight into the life of our high profile CEO.