Tag Archives: media

Twitter power: Part 1 of 2

Brendon’s note:

I’ve been following Katie Sweeney on Twitter for well over a year now. We have a lot of things in common: an interest in changing people’s minds using smart writing, a love for our respective Philadelphia neighborhoods and a minor-league-but-relatively-healthy addiction to Twitter.

More to the point, we use the same kinds of metaphors to describe Twitter to others. And we have the same kind of respect for the influence it can exert. Katie’s story, presented here exclusively in two parts, is a great example of that influence and how Twitter can reveal personalities better than any press conference or commercial ever could.

Here’s her story:

When explaining Twitter to the uninformed I usually take the approach of comparing it to walking into the largest party imaginable and being able to listen and contribute to all the conversations that interest you. With Twitter you can hear about special sales on your favorite products at the same time you hear breaking news headlines.

Before Twitter, you may never have had the opportunity to meet Shaquille O’Neal in person, or tell your favorite author Sloane Crosley how much you love her short stories. With Twitter, you can find out what @Shaq had for breakfast or where @AskAnyone is doing her next book reading.

You may even get your Mayor to come over and help shovel snow on your street, as I did.

Continue reading

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Lucky #30?

A century ago, Philadelphia department store magnate John Wanamaker was once quoted saying: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

That occurred to me yesterday, when my blog post about distributing press releases was featured on WordPress.com’s “Freshly Pressed” site and as the featured post on WordPress.com’s Media site.

My trophy for the week: A featured post on the WordPress Media Tag site.

The fact is, despite all our modern audience targeting and measuring, Mr. Wanamaker still has a point. That blog post — the 30th on my blog — wasn’t discernibly different than my others, it just happened to grab the attention of the right people at the right time.

The same can go for an ad that finally strikes a chord with your target audience. Or a press story that finds a life of its own and spreads through media. Or an online video that’s so successful that it spurs dozens more from celebrities and the president.

To me, Wanamaker’s quote isn’t about luck or frustration. It’s about perseverance in marketing.

Marketing is about a dialogue with people. People — and the things that affect them — are unpredictable, so it’s up to marketing and PR people to learn, tweak and persevere.

Giving up or reducing efforts only ensures that both halves of your marketing efforts will be wasted.

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Twitter and media: changing the system, not the people

Earlier this week, a five-alarm fire raged in downtown Baltimore. And one of the reporters who covered it first wasn’t even on the scene.

Using his Twitter feed, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter began aggregating photos from fellow Twitter users who were at the fire and posting links to their pictures.

It used to be that being first to the scene was the most important. Now, with hundreds of cameras already on the scene in the hands of passersby and the ability to distribute it to millions instantaneously, media and other organizations simply can’t win the footrace. It’s barely worth trying.

But here’s what IS worth trying: telling a better story. Either by taking a better photo or weaving together a narrative that’s compelling about an event happening in real time. When US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson last year, it was the wide-angle photo of passengers getting out of the floating airplane that told the story.

Twitter and other social media haven’t changed people, it’s changed the system in which we learn about and report news. What used to be a one-to-many paradigm is now thousands-to-millions. It’s up to the people who create the news and report it to adjust accordingly.

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