Can you hear me while you’re tweeting?

By: Scott Stein, Vice President of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes get sucked into social media and miss things that are going on around me. So intent to let followers know the latest about a sporting event I’m at (usually hockey), I’ll actually sometimes miss a big play while tweeting away on my phone.

Of course, that’s not such a big deal. I’m there for fun and I know at least a couple of my followers appreciate the periodic updates.

But what about those who are so intent on tweeting while they’re doing their jobs that they may miss some key information. Can the rush to be the first to report a quote from a news conference interfere with getting all of the information that’s being presented?

Of course, I understand that the days of news reporters sitting back at a news conference or other event and taking in all the information and asking all of their questions before going back to the station or office to write the story appear to be over. With the proliferation of social media, there’s now a rush to be the first to get the information on Twitter, telling the story one tweet at a time. But when a reporter’s focus is on composing the next tweet, is that reporter still able to get the next key point from the speaker? What about the subtle visual cues/messages that may be missed when tweeting is taking place?

Maybe it’s just that reporters today are simply better at multi-tasking. But, as a PR professional, I have to wonder if there’s a need to change my approach when planning a news conference or other event to take into account the social media posting that may be taking place.

I obviously have a lot of questions about this topic. What do you think?