Twitter's epiphany provides a real pat on the back for PR

Last August, PRWeek used Twitter as an example of the wrong way to use a corporate blog.

Last August, PRWeek used Twitter as an example of the wrong way to use a corporate blog. At the time, Twitter had suffered a security breach in which internal documents were stolen and handed over to TechCrunch, which posted a number of them for public viewing.

For a service whose members rely on its ability to function safely and efficiently online, and one in which more and more corporations are investing, a breach of this magnitude shook some nerves. To counter that concern, Twitter posted a blog and referred media inquiries to the posting. Along with others in the industry, PRWeek saw this as too little and a demonstration as to why Twitter needed to get serious about building a more robust communications function - or more specifically, to build one at all.

Now it seems Twitter's founders are coming to the same conclusion. The popular social media forum, which once shunned the need for a PR agency, recently consulted with 463 Communications and revealed plans to hire away one of its executives as its new - and first - VP of communications.

Twitter's current popularity is indisputable. A recent survey found that 65% of Fortune Global 100 companies have active accounts on Twitter - more than those that maintain a Facebook page. Cofounders Biz Stone and Evan Williams are darlings to the in-the-know social media set. @Ev gave a keynote at SXSW Interactive. Corporations and celebrities rely on the service to connect with customers and fans, manage their public interface, generate new business, and respond to consumer concerns.

In other words, a lot of people have put their faith in the company. All the while, Twitter faces its own issues from other security breaches to the possibility of an IPO. These are concerns that PR professionals tackle every day, developing tailored strategic communications solutions. Twitter's recognition of the role PR can play as it grows is very encouraging.

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