I learned something valuable about Twitter this week and I shouldn’t be surprised.
I typically post about sports, public relations, the publishing industry (authors and books), world events when I think my two cents adds something or I feel strongly, and sometimes just fun things I see fly across my screen.
Like most of you reading this, I saw pictures and reaction to the 2019 College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers that visited the White House and were served fast-food 🍔🍕🍟 for dinner. Tongue-in-cheek, I posted a response to someone on my Twitter feed that it would be nice if the immediate past president of the United States invited the Tigers to his home for a do-over. My thought when I wrote it was that former President Obama, who celebrated men’s and women’s championship teams during his tenure at the White House, is a noted sports fan. His wife, Michelle, a supporter of the Fruits and Veggies Club, would likely veto fast-food even if her husband suggested it, and likely serve a healthier menu.
Before I hit “SEND” I considered that the post could be taken as funny, political or just another one of a zillion inconsequential comments made about the event. I know enough about our political climate to realize that responding to a political writer may be deemed that, but those few words generated more attention than it I thought it deserved — although there were some very kind comments. Nonetheless, I immediately thought of Santa Clause. (Please bear with me.)
In the several years I’ve worked as a publicist, some of the most funky stories have attracted reporters’ attention. Along with their editors, they’re understandably going to pay attention to things their audience reads or views — stories those people find informative, educational or entertaining.
Then there’s social media — a tool that communicates at the speed of a click. While some in PR have spoken about its differences, one tweet showed me it’s more like traditional media than I gave it credit for. I received more responses in 48 hours to a nonsense tweet than I have with what I considered “real” news, in months. Is that because our political climate is that noisy, or people thought it was an image they could relate to?
Public relations is not a predictable domain unless you suggest stories with puppies and little kids. (And I guess fast-food in the White House.) Like a long ago traditional media pitch I made about a couple that got engaged while visiting a mall Santa, this tweet attracted a slew of people I’ve never seen on my Twitter feed. It tends to follow the general rules of responsive public relations:
• Keep it short.
• Add a twinge of controversy.
• Piggyback on a current event.
I’m curious to know your thoughts. In the mean time, I’ll keep those Twitter responses in the back of my mind.
© Gail Sideman, gpublicity.com 2019