Why I (finally) joined Twitter
I have proudly been a self-proclaimed social media Luddite.
After a misspent early career in politics which included a lot of rhetorical bomb throwing, I eventually learned the wisdom of keeping my mouth shut in public on most occasions. This became a professional necessity when I moved into the public relations and public affairs consulting fields 13 years ago. After all, my role was to give voice to my clients’ opinions, not my own. That is generally a good default position in any communications business. Occasionally some PR type, journalist, pollster, or pundit is too quick to let his ego overshadow the best interests of their clients or consumers. My instinct for reserve was reinforced by my recent re-listening to an old BBC recording of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The wise and fiercely loyal Fool advises Lear (Act I, Scene 4):
Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest.
Although Goff Public has been creating and maintaining clients’ social media efforts for several years, I could never quite break free of my own personal inhibition to engage in social media. Sure, I knew the value of reading reporters’ tweets about fast-breaking or developing news. And I am a voracious reader of other people’s blogs, especially in economics. Mind you, though I am a fairly private person, my family and friends know me to be outspoken and to share lots of ideas, opinions, and reading recommendations. Still social media – though vital to organizations and public figures – has seemed so…well, narcissistic.
Well, this Luddite is finally capitulating to the revolution. Not the industrial one, but the social media revolution. After careful consideration and some persuasive prodding from my Goff Public colleagues, I am taking a leap into online social networking and joining Twitter.
Despite my earlier misconceptions, social networking sites are not just for teens and twenty-somethings anymore. According to a 2011 Pew Research study, 47% of all American adults use at least one social networking site.
Facebook and Twitter sometimes have a bad reputation among middle-aged adults like me because people sometimes post inane comments about what they had for lunch. Of course, this is not always the case; serious conversation occurs on Twitter too.
There is also strategic benefit to joining social media sites. More than 750 million people are on Facebook, and 175 million people are on Twitter. These people include your current and potential customers, journalists, and others. Joining social media sites provides a way to connect with these audiences.
Though I have many interests, I probably will not tweet about blues and classical music, Formula 1 racing, or my other hobbies. In my social media-shy way, I still doubt that most people who might follow me would care about those things. Instead, I am on Twitter now primarily to share what I read or observe about the intersection of communications, business, economics, journalism, and public affairs. If you would like to read my occasional takes, please follow me at @ChrisGeorgacas. I look forward to joining the conversation.
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