Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jon Stewart onTwitter: You're Not Paying Attention

A hilarious segment on last night's Daily Show discussed Twitter and how it distracts you from getting anything done. It showcases Congressional Twittering during sessions, and brings up the point that "Everyone can see what you are saying." He also mentions there's a reason why schools don't allow social media in classrooms - because kids won't pay attention.

Many companies and associations are now doing Twitter updates from conferences and other meetings - hoping to build enthusiasm and engagement. It can work, but you have to actually Tweet about what's going on in the room. And there's always the issue that someone is misinterpreting content.

Here's a guideline on Social Media ethics - Everyone is going to see what you say. Remember it can haunt you and go viral. Pretend you are in a meeting with your boss. Don't say anything you wouldn't tell him or her to their face.

Had a recent situation like that where I complained about inedible food at a PR lunch. A hotel in VA served us brown flavored globs of meat in gray sauce with onions that made the shish kebob vendors in Manhattan look like gourmands. I was starving - and ate it - and then got really sick afterwards.

So I complained. The lunch cost $45.00, and I didn't learn anything. The speaker's contribution to my knowledge was basically "You need to put a link to your press release on your home page." Duh. The problem was the company sent someone to speak who was a techie not a media person. When we started asking him questions about Google Analytics and how to measure success of your site, he had something to say.

So I sent a note to the person who asked me to register for the next one about the food. I said it was really disgusting - and got my head handed to me by some PR person whose web site doesn't say anything except we do appropriate things for big companies and charge them a lot of money. That's what most PR is and that's why we're different. We tell clients the truth even if it isn't pretty. Because in the end if you BS them you won't be successful for them or you.

She said "And you're in PR?" Sorry, I suck at being diplomatic unless I have my client voice on. Here's an alternative - "Your food could have been improved should you have chosen a location that didn't give food poisoning to its guests."

Anyway, my point is remember if you tweet something online it gets passed around - a lot. And in this economy none of us can afford to alienate people even if we would rather live in a cardboard box than work the way they do.

So that's my rant for the day. And here's my idol Jon Stewart with a solid reminder that the online world is a place where bits of unimportant information pass for analysis and news and that if you pay attention and think things through you can learn something. By the way, one of the reasons I adore him, is because he is direct too. It's a New York thing.


Sam Bee says Twitter has become such a big deal among legislators and the media elite because it's awesome.

By the way, look for a later post on how to deal with the millenials now that we've hit hard times. We no longer have to coddle them. All those people who've made money teaching middle managers how to deal with their newly minted college grads need to change their tune or glom onto another trend.

Read a recent article about millenials who spent a couple of years on Wall Street - got laid off and are cashing in what they've made, selling their apartments and traveling around the world. Those are kids with their priorities straight. More power to them.

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