Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Looking Back at Twitter’s Seminal Moments

Has Twitter turned the corner with its business plan? Twitter turned six years old this week and to celebrate we’re taking a look at the microblogging site’s evolution, from its early days as Twttr to the impact it has had in shaping the world’s conversation.

Twitter is also breaking new ground in the financial and political industries, as senior leaders in these fields are beginning to see the benefits of tapping this particular channel. Twitter has innovated the way we communicate and in doing so has driven a number of people toward somewhat of a tweeting compulsion that isn’t losing any steam.

PRSA’s “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest PR and business news and commentary — takes a looks at Twitter, past, present and future, as we explore the genius behind what keeps this social media titan just as relevant today as it was six years ago. 

Happy Birthday, Twitter! A Look Back at Some Noteworthy Tweets (The Wall Street Journal)

Twitter celebrated a birthday March 21. It’s been six years since Twitter founder Jack Dorsey posted his first tweet to microblogging site, paving the way for what has become a cultural phenomenon. Last month alone, Twitter.com attracted more than 178 million unique visitors across the globe, according to online measurement firm comScore. Wall Street Journal’s Emily Steel walks us down memory lane and looks at some of the most memorable Tweets made over the last six years, from Barack Obama, @BarackObama, tweeting supporters after he won the presidential election on Nov. 5, 2008 to rapper Kanye West, who tweeted an apology to country singer Taylor Swift for his behavior at the 2010 MTV Awards show while she accepted an award.

On Wall St., Keeping a Tight Rein on Twitter (The New York Times)

The New York Times reports how Wall Street firms are tiptoeing into the fast-paced world of social media. At the moment, social media represents a largely untapped marketing opportunity for many financial firms, but that’s all about to change, according to The Times. Lauren W. Boyman, who runs social media at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, mentioned that financial advisers are successfully engaging with clients over Twitter, adding that prewritten messages help streamline the process. Though the cost of a mistake is high and it can be scary for compliance officers, curiosity is building over potential business opportunity through the use of social media. For Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, networking on social media hasn’t yet turned into a measurable stream of dollars, but they will remain on the forefront of what seems like a growing social media frontier for financial institutions.

Capitol Tweets: Yeas and Nays of the Congressional Twitterverse (Edelman Digital)

Edelman’s D.C. office released a study this week, “Capitol Tweets,” which explores a narrow impact of Twitter: its role in the democratization of political communication and use among U.S. Members of Congress. Through a partnership with Simply Measured, a social media analytics tools, Edelman collected and analyzed Twitter data from 89 U.S. Senators and 367 U.S. Representatives across a 112-day period. “Read the full report here.

 Good Things About Twitter (The New Yorker)

We’ve all seen the capability of Twitter and movement that occurs as a result of the more than 250 million tweets a day, but there’s always room for criticism. Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker counters the criticism by walking us through some of the good things about Twitter.

“One of the most felicitous uses of Twitter is to promote long-form nonfiction by circulating a blurb leading to the full text,” says Frere-Jones. Citing facts and creating arguments is one of Twitter’s strongest features. Twitter is good at letting facts circulate through argument. It is both where the untruth flies first and where it gets shot down. Twitter is sort of a self-cleaning oven, where the wisdom of the crowd can work out the kinks, and it is unlike any other form of social media, Frere-Jones argues Twitter is certainly worth the investment.

Twitter Addiction — Progressing on to Harder Social Media “Drugs” (Huffington Post Blog)

In a previous Huffington Post blog, April Rudin, CEO of The Rudin Group, discussed how LinkedIn serves as a “gateway” drug of sorts for those reluctant about where to enter social media marketing. This week Rudin argues that mastering LinkedIn will lead to a Twitter addiction. Most Twitter addicts will aggregate content from the Internet, add some of their own relevant personal reading, and sprinkle in some tweets from others that they may be following. The end result is a Twitter stream which is curated from a variety of sources and uniquely constructed and a compulsive need to tweet about everything.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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