Is Twitter Just Junk?

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I came across an article in Newsweek earlier this month called “Don’t Tweet on Me” that, based on the amount of feedback it received, got a lot of people going. In the article, author Daniel Lyons writes that although some people use Twitter to share articles and thought provoking questions, the majority of what it posted on Twitter is just “junk.”

Although Mr. Lyons acknowledges in his article that Twitter can be used for good (sharing articles and photos and hearing thoughts on national issues from the likes of “serious people” such as Al Gore and George Stephanopoulos), he dedicated most of the article to saying that Twitter is popular because it is like driving by a car accident – you can’t help but look and see what is going on no matter how stupid it might be.

In the article, Mr. Lyons goes on to say that “Twitter is so stupid that it is brilliant” because it draws in millions of people who will follow every word of famous people, thereby giving a celebrity a much larger audience for themselves than if they were on a television show. In other words, “Twitter is not useful, or important or deeply revolutionary. …Twitter is entertainment.”

So, is Twitter just entertainment? I would argue that you tend to hear more about celebrity tweets because they are – well – celebrities and they are undoubtedly going to attract a large crowd. But I also know from experience in working with our clients that by incorporating Twitter into their PR campaigns it can extend their reach and impact. Whether sharing information, cross promoting a Web site, answering customer questions, starting a conversation with a larger audience, or addressing a crisis issue, Twitter can be a valuable part of a company’s communications plan. Just because you don’t read about it every day, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

So what is Twitter to you? A place where you can follow celebrities or make a contribution? Is Twitter a valuable PR resource or a form of entertainment as Mr. Lyons claims? Let’s start talking.