PR, journalists and Twitter

There was an interesting exchange of opinions on Twitter earlier today, sparked by Architects’ Journal and Architectural Review editor-in-chief Kieran Long saying:

Reaction to this approach was broadly negative, as I think the following exchanges illustrate:

  • georgeclarketv @kieranlong You should do it…choose your words very carefully!
  • dantestraw @kieranlong Surely they can twitter it themselves, can’t they?…
  • ArchitectureAU @kieranlong slippery slope….
  • gemmawent @kieranlong Interesting request. Not entirely sure that fits with the Twitter ethos myself and, as Dan said, they can tweet it themselves
  • EEPaul @kieranlong With respect, why ask you? Can’t they twitter themselves? PR people should be engaging direct, not thru others’ Tweets.
  • EEPaul @GemmaWent Just seen your reply to @kieranlong. Agree. Should PR people piggy-back off other Tweeps’ networks? Build your own, I say.
  • lornaparsons @EEPaul @GemmaWent in response to @kieranlong Totally agree – that’s the whole point of Twitter!
  • kieranlong @EEPaul @GemmaWent It’s obvious why a PR would want me to say it on their behalf. Same reason they don’t print their own magazines…
  • EEPaul @kieranlong @GemmaWent I suppose the critical test is whether you feel the subject is worthy of a Tweet to followers (like RTing, really)
  • SuButcher @kieranlong if people want your endorsement it shows that they value you. But you don’t have to agree to give it.
  • katmadison @kieranlong as a “PR person” i feel such a request is lazy! PR is to inform, elucidate, clarify, communicate, inspire words worth repeating
  • SLGneil Surprised to hear a PR asked @kieranlong to tweet something. @EEPaul is right – they should engage on here themselves

Kieran currently has about 700 followers on Twitter and as a respected architectural journalist his opinions will count for a lot, so it is no perhaps wonder that some PR practitioners might think it worth getting him toTwitter about something. But for me the critical difference is that Twitter isn’t like a print magazine. It is a social medium in which all users can publish their own thoughts, links, ideas, questions, etc, and re-Tweet those of others that they think will be interesting to their own network of followers.  As Kathy Madison suggests, if the PR person who approached Kieran had sent him an informative, inspiring Tweet, then Kieran would not have thought twice about repeating it to his network. Moreover, if that same PR person had also spent time engaging with other people on Twitter and building up a network of interested followers, then that same Tweet might additionally have been re-Tweeted by dozens of others (effectively removing the need to go begging to one influential journalist).

1 comment

  1. I am continually surprised at how twitter is misinterpreted by people in marketing.

    Perhaps it is no wonder given that twitter is misunderstood by the public as a whole.

    My twitter account is (amongst other things) a filter mechanism. I use it to choose what content to pass to others, content I feel will interest them. My personality and enthusiams give my tweets value.
    Note – I use the first person here because twitter is about people. The people who follow me do so by choice. If I sold access to my followers it would be spam, and with justifiation they would leave.

    This is why selling techniques like this and magpie etc will not bring value. You’ve got to Engage to add value.

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