I’m sure some of you will remember the 1976 movie “Sybil” about the woman with 16 different personalities. I was thinking about Twitter and ownership … not literally, but within a media company – or any company for that matter large enough to have divisions. There are a lot of people with many differing opinions. Some would say Twitter is strictly an issues management tool – a way to be react to the community at large when criticism is levelled. Others think of Twitter as a Communications tool – a way to reach out to the community – a community drop box if you will for questions and answers. Others are writing books from the PR perspective … it’s a public relations tool and that’s the end of the story. While many think of it as a vast untapped Marketing opportunity. Obviously it’s all of those things. But how are companies assigning ownership of a social media tool that has so many different personalities? Jessica Berlin of the Cirque du Soleil has said that their social media is largely managed by publicity. The massively talked-about Twitter campaign that saw AMC’s “Mad Men” TV show characters come to life walked a fine line between being an accidental publicity stunt and a marketing campaign. At least it demonstrated that you could be creative with 140 characters. Starbucks uses their Twitter account as an issues management tool … quietly patrolling the Twittering community waiting to pounce on any dissatisfied customers with free coffee coupons and “2-way” conversations. Not a bad thing if you’re at the receiving end I suppose.
In my opinion, Twitter is all those things. And it shouldn’t be approached as an entity with just one personality. Anyone writing a social media plan needs to recognize that Twitter is a unique opportunity to eliminate silos in the corporate structure and allow collaboration within corporations. A collaborative approach allows those with specialities in all of the social media areas to work together to make Twitter a better end-user experience.
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