Twitter: What and Why


Many people are extremely cautious of Twitter and I don’t really see why. It takes up very little time, it’s incredibly easy and is a great way to network. Twitter, as described by Wikipedia is a “free social networking service that allows users to send “updates” or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long to the Twitter website, short messages or a third-party application.”

In layman’s terms, you write short messages and post updates on the web about what ever you want. Twitter describes itself as a tool “for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing.”

Twitter has done a lot for me even though I am one of less active users. I rarely post but do follow what other people are talking about. I have been linked to great articles, blog posts and websites, and have really learned more about social media tools. Yes, many of the posts on Twitter are useless updates (e.g. “I just got out of the shower” or “I’m hungry”), but it really is a great learning tool, and is respected by social media professionals. I was asked in an interview if I was on Twitter and I was thankful enough to say yes.

I am not in the social media circle. I am bystander looking in just wishing I could get in on the action. Twitter lets me do that at, and is much faster than reading blogs and is much less formal.

Dave Fleet suggests, “What’s more (let’s be honest) we self-censor a lot less on Twitter than we do on our blogs. That’s not a negative – Twitter’s format lets us share links and thoughts much more easily than blogs do. Still, that means I post links and thoughts on Twitter that I wouldn’t write about (on my blog).”

Among PR professionals involved in social media, Twitter is a big deal. An entire session at PodCamp Toronto was dedicated to Twitter and has been a frequent topic on the podcast Inside Pr.

Needless to say, Twitter is a growing phenomenon with a new application designed every day (so it seems). I’m not the expert. In fact, I can barely keep up. But, for anyone interested in learning more about Twitter, here are some great sites that give a better description than I could ever give:

CBC News In Depth: Technology CBC (Twitter takes wing on mainstream social web)

BuzzMachine by Jeff Jarvis (Tribute to Twitter)

Webware by Rafe Needleman (Newbie’s guide to Twitter)

And since I hold no bias, here is an anti-Twitter post:

Webwalker by Douglas Walker (Twitter Rant)

Whether you love it or hate it Twitter is here. Is it really going to make that big of an impact in terms of PR and social media, I don’t know, but I’m going to be in the know-how and be familiar with the applications just in case.


About ramsayramsay

I am a 24 year old public relations student at Centennial College and have a degree from Brock University in communications. I love to read, travel and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy writing am excited to share my thoughts on PR, social media and everyday life.

Posted on March 17, 2008, in blogs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nicely put Megan.

    It’s good to look at Twitter beyond its PR impact too – used right, it can be an invaluable resource for networking and sharing information.

  2. For the record, min wasn’t an anti-twitter rant, but it was mixed. I think twitter is important, but the signal to noise ration can be pretty frustrating at times.

  3. Megan:

    A nice discussion about Twitter. All social networking tools have positives and negatives. I think you are smart to work with it and learn so that you understand its implications.

    Connie Crosby

  1. Pingback: Strive Notes » March 20th: Jo’s PR Top 5

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