Since the beginning of the year, many of us in the media now feel the need to check our Twitter home page as a matter of priority. The question, of course, is where this social network will find its long-term niche in the nation’s media diet?
This writer admits to being a relatively late adopter of Twitter. But there are many of us. According to HitWise, use of Twitter has grown by 1,000 per cent over the past 12 months.
In this issue PRWeek takes a look at the heaviest users of Twitter within our industry and solicits some views on the site’s impact.
Unsurprisingly, it is the tech PR sector that first embraced micro-blogging, but other heavy users include the same agency bosses who were early converts to blogging and Facebook.
One senses a medium that is still agonising over its own role in the world, veering wildly between inane ego-stroking and nuggets of vital information.
Whereas Facebook feels like a natural successor to Friends Reunited – an online community of similarly-minded folk – Twitter is a more ambitious, immediate and outward-looking phenomenon.
Because it is so compatible with the mobile devices that increasingly dominate our lives, Twitter is more likely to break stories (the US Airways plane crash in the Hudson being a famous example) and encourage us to interact with people beyond our immediate peer group.
It could also be seen as yet another distraction to already hectic lives. Time management was a major issue for media professionals before email or social networking, and it is unlikely to get any easier thanks to micro-blogging.
Nevertheless, it is another medium that must be mastered by PR staff. The processes may be different but the rules are much the same.
Even in this world of annual internet fads, strong professional relationships and efficient communication will not fall out of fashion.