I’m not telling you anything new.
Confession time. I frequently questioned the value of social media for individuals, specifically, for me. Is what I’m thinking and doing all that important to social strangers? Conversely, do I really care what you’re eating for dinner or watching on Netflix? Shouldn’t I be doing something more intellectual, like trolling BBC News’ website or playing the Slate News quiz? Not to mention, do I want followers to know my dark side—that I am discouraged with society’s etiquette, choose nail polishes for the name rather than color, have a mild case of road rage and might like Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space?”
Since 2009 I’ve had a Twitter account and used it regularly to chase news, to administer client pages and to find the best shopping deals around. I never composed a personal tweet even though I did so several times a day, every day, for my clients without inhibition. I let Twitter gather and give me the news instead of making my own.
I was a passenger in Twitter’s car, along for the ride without any directional sense of where I was headed.
Last summer one of our B2B clients was on the periphery of social media controversy. With the digital landscape rife with consumer sentiment about a wide range of topics related to health and nutrition, our client learned quickly that opinion could sometimes trump science-based evidence and, simply, fact. To uphold our client’s portfolio and ultimately its reputation, we partnered with former president of Edelman Digital and current NATIONAL Public Relations’ Chief Digital Strategist, Rick Murray, and implemented an issues management social media campaign.
At 14,000 tweets and 6,000-plus followers, Rick was and is practically fearless in the digital space and guided our client to a strong and stable social media presence. While still in the pilot phase, the campaign has started to move the needle—the client has been able to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and their customers, negative conversation is balanced with positive content and most importantly, the client is equipped to respond to a social media crisis on Twitter, in 45 minutes or less of course.
Being a part of this campaign made me realize that every interaction with stakeholders such as followers, friends, the community, and even strangers has the potential to have impact. It’s all about sharing moments. These moments can be important, irrelevant, funny, sarcastic, informative, pragmatic, emotional and the list goes on. This experience made me want to start sharing my moments.
A short while ago, I found myself watching Peter Pan Live!. Admittedly, I tuned in to see if it was any bad, and was pleasantly surprised. Allison Williams sure could sing and made for a pretty Peter. Christopher Walken was charmingly calm and his cadence made me guess if he forgot his lines or if that was intentional delivery. The whole production was fine, really.
I started to tweet my moments. And in no time at all, I found myself having a conversation, sharing the watching experience with so many people, all while home alone. One tweeter tweeted “…if the way we save Tinkerbell these days is with a hashtag, well, at least we’re still saving Tinkerbell together.” A light bulb went off and it wasn’t Tink’s wand.
Social media phenomenon like PeterPanLive! and the issues management social campaign proved that I was underestimating the value of Twitter. Certainly it’s a platform for breaking news, a forum of interesting people, open access to celebrities and companies and a global trend tracker, but more than all of this, it’s a creative outlet. You never know what you’re going to see on Twitter, which proves Fromm’s theory that creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
From here on out I plan to embrace uncertainty—140 characters at a time.