Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There may be a place for Twitter after all

As noted in my previous post I am a bit skeptical with regards to Twitter being an effective tool in public relations. However, benrmatthews just wrote an excellent post titled, "How can PR practitioners use Twitter?" In his post he not only cites a few examples of Twitter being used in other PR efforts, but also links to a few tools that make Twitter more relevant. Of these tools, the one that most impressed me was TweetVolume. TweetVolume allows you to enter up to five terms and then the tool will actually search Twitter to find out how many "tweets" mention those terms. It's very interesting. I wish there was some way that you could see the actual tweets, but for now this is pretty good. Who knows, maybe Twitter will become more mainstream, but if not, it seems there is a significant audience using Twitter so it might be worth my while to try to engage the community more.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Next Big Thing

In my work in social media here at General Motors we're constantly asking the question, "What's the next big thing?" Sure, MySpace and Facebook are the big dogs in social networks right now, but what's next? Is it the concept of creating your own social network like Ning is proposing? Blogs, in my opinion, still dominate the social media realm, but will this last? I think blogs are one channel of social media that will be around for a while, will the new concept of microblogging (Twitter or Jaiku) take off next?

It seems to me that once a new social media tool comes out that a number of PR professionals hop on it and start lauding it as the "next big thing," but I find that once I too get involved with this new tool that the only people using it are other PR people. I think Twitter is a perfect example of this. Granted, the likes of Dell, GM and CNN are using it, but I would venture to say that the large majority of people have no idea what Twitter is, much less how to use it. Is it really the next big thing if only the PR people know about/use it?

So my big questions for anybody reading this blog are 1) Is it the job of PR professionals to alert our publics to the next big thing, or do we let them find out about on their own; and 2) What is the next big thing?

I welcome your input!