I’ve been chronicling in this space my foray into Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. It’s been a learning experience, for sure. Two things I’ve quickly learned: 1.) these are powerfully connective tools, and 2.) handle with care.
Regarding the former, I had a great experience with Twitter this week. A magazine I’m following tweeted a link to a story they ran on how its industry is embracing Twitter. I read the article and learned that it was completely relevant to me and my clients. I retweeted, of course. I also e-mailed the reporter with some comments, and she included my Twitter handle in a revised version of the article. The reporter and I went on to continue the conversation via e-mail (we are also now following each other on Twitter), establishing valuable rapport and allowing me the opportunity to discuss some of my clients “offline,” so to speak, with an important media contact for both me and these clients. Furthermore, the revised article that now contained my Twitter handle led to a number of industry players and potential contacts following me on Twitter, and vice versa….which led one of them to this blog, which further fostered direct communication. Now THAT’S social networking in a 2.0 world.
As for the latter…not so good. Thankfully, I was an innocent bystander. I watched as an industry thought leader took exception to a media member’s blog post, leading to a one-on-one gripe match that made the instigator look petty and small. In exploiting social media (such as blogs), we encourage our clients and each other to engage their peers, leaving comments on blogs, replying to tweets, interacting on Facebook, etc. But we MUST remember that the same rules for civil discourse apply online as they do in the real world. Comments on blogs and Twitter posts may seem anonymous and dissociative, but they’re not. They can either do great good, or great harm (like Spider-Man).
I feel like I was able to establish (and will nurture) a meaningful relationship with a member of the media; but I fear that that blog commenter may have done irreparable harm. Just because the tools and methodology are evolving doesn’t mean that basic principles of relationship-building are thrown out the window.
In other words…
“Tweet others as you would have them tweet you.”