I'm a twitter-pusher. If you talk with me personally on a regular basis you already know this. In the last few days I've started to push my Twitter goodies on young unsuspectings. I decided it'd be easier to do in mass.
So here's the why: Mostly I'm talking to young PR/communicators or young soon-to-be PR/communicators. Social media is the "it" thing in our industry, right? It goes without saying (except that I just did say it). Everyone is looking for a new hire that can help with "social media efforts." So how are you going to convince anyone that you are in-the-know if you are not already part of the conversation when you walk in the door.
Sure, you can Facebook and MySpace. You can blog, YouTube, and Flickr (you can do all this, right?!). People complain about social media taking over our lives for a reason: it's never-ending. Prepare to meet your newest obsession.
The How: go to twitter.com, create an account. Simple, right? Now don't sit in Twitter all alone and go "this sucks." You have to follow people and be followed. It's simple, just play for a few minutes and you can figure out the basics.
Still want me to draw you a picture? Someone else already did: http://www.commoncraft.com/Twitter.
Ok, so who should you follow? Well, for starters, me, of course! Just type FOLLOW BonnieAnn or go to www.twitter.com/BonnieAnn and click the follow button.
Who else? Here are some PR/communicators I follow. Following people in your industry is great. Twitter becomes a professional community where you can get feedback 24/7.
@samsims @kamichat @eschipul @lindsaylaird @dpkpr @publicityhound @jenniferds1127 @knhalvorsonapr @holleym @vtrammell @muddypebbles @cluster_funk @ncoggins @okprdustin @daniwalker76 (these are just a few mind you!)
Just fun: @okstatelibrary @okc @cnn @twitter @thebloggess @pickensplan
And folks I love: @sarahelaine @vbaeza @andrea862
You might be surprised who tweets. Maybe your congressman? http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Members_of_Congress_who_TwitterDon't stop there. These folks will lead you to other folks. If someone interests you, teaches you, or entertains you, follow them.
Alas the madness won't stop here. If you want to establish and maintain a reputation as an innovator or even an early adopter you'll have stay on top what's new, and that seems to be changing daily.
I'm not saying you have to like it all (I hate RSS!! Just for example). I'm not even saying you have to use it—for long. But you have to understand it enough to explain why it is or isn't appropriate for a project, client, etc. and when if ever it would be.