Getting Exceptional: How Twitter Will Change Your World

As I mentioned in my last post, things are getting ugly out there. The PR people who will be left standing in this economy are the exceptional. Along these lines, I’m offering a few (5 to be exact) ideas about how we can get exceptional here and now. Without further ado, here is Thing #1: How Twitter Can Change your World (Or at least help you understand the reporters and analysts you watch).

Full disclosure: At first, I could not grasp the relevance of Twitter. I wondered what it said about our collective attention spans that “micropublishing” was taking off. But, like J-Lo and Scientology, I am going public with my love. As a reward for reading this entire post, I shall link to a lists of reporters who Twitter so you can begin following them with great devotion and interest.

So why am I so into Twitter? Because I have a MUCH better sense of what’s on the minds of the analysts and press people I follow. It’s really that simple. Often, they’ll post info on stories they’re working on, pet peeves, travel schedules (crucial info if you’re pitching something timely), etc. Also, it just gives you a peak into their personalities. This ain’t something you’d find on MediaMap, that’s for sure. Sometimes you’ll find that you really dig a given reporter. They might be the person you hope to grab a beer with someday. Other times you’ll find that the arrogance factor makes you want to pull your eyelashes out one by one. Either way, at least you’ll know who you’re dealing with at a level you couldn’t hope to experience without a face to face encounter.

Also, Twitter represents a new exposure for BAD PR people. Brian Morrissey recently tweeted about a PR person who, when unsatisfied with how a story was going, actually went above his head to his BOSS to complain.

My point here is that not only can reporters blog about bad PR moves, they can publicly shame them in new ways as well. Granted, not all press people use Twitter. But for those that do, if you take the time to enter their world via Twitter, it’ll make you a lot smarter about how and what to pitch. Shout outs to Peter Shankman for waking me up to this reality.

A few safety tips: • Avoid SHS: Some reporters/analysts “tweet” more often than others. Select the “turn device alarm off” option as you choose to “follow” them. That way, you won’t get notified every time someone posts something new. If you don’t, you may experience SHS (Sudden Hate Syndrome) as the volume of Twitterings can be alarming at first(I know they’re called Tweets, but I can’t help it… I like the way “twitterings” sounds… vaguely like something Mary Poppins might say. “Jane and Michael – enough of your twitterings. Spit, spot.”). I only receive updates for the folks I follow very closely, or for those who are particularly amusing.

Don’t Be a Stalker: Sometimes the tweets can share some of the daily details of the person’s life. For example, you may be following a reporter who mentions that she’s expecting, and is fighting nausea on a daily basis. Be careful referencing this kind of thing in your conversations with her. It’s a thin line between being attentive to their needs as reporters and being a stalker. Even though they offered the info, it’s still a little weird to mention it. Such is the strange balance we all walk with privacy and social media.

Try it, you might like it: Give it a shot. Take the plunge, and answer that profoundly rich question “What are you doing?”

Congrats! You made it to the end of this posting. Here is a link I found that lists which reporters use Twitter.

• Courtesy of the folks at My Creative Team: