Here are my five favorite uses for Twitter:
1. Spend too much time browsing the tweets, retweets and links shared by the hundreds of PR pros I follow
2. Get breaking news updates from tweets of news services/media I follow
3. Spend too much time browsing links to blogs on a wide variety of political, cultural and personal interests topics and opinions (this feels something like scanning magazines in the grocery check out line)
4. Spend too much time on a mental break browsing the tweets of celebrities, professional comedians and other off-beat characters whose tweets I follow
5. Participate in chats
These are probably all pretty self-explanatory (and obviously time-consuming) ways to use Twitter, except for possibly the last one: participating in Twitter chats.
Recently a few colleagues have given me "the look" when I mention how great I think Twitter chats are. I think some people have the impression that Twitter chats are an even more intense version of Twitter, with lots of chatter. But participating in an organized Twitter chat is different from regular tweeting that references a specific hashtag. In fact, the chats are usually highly organized. The ones I′ve participated in all have a moderator, and sometimes a special guest (e.g. an expert on the chat′s current topic). Questions or topics are determined ahead of time (you can submit questions via the moderator) and then controlled by the moderator. Shonali Burke explains Twitter chats and what makes one good in her excellent blog.
If you work in PR and are active on Twitter I highly recommend looking into these chats:
#journchat, created by @prsarahevans takes place every Monday at 8 pm ET and explores the impact of online communications and new media with 200+ journalists, bloggers and PR professionals participating each week.
#soloPR, which was created by @kellyecrane as a way for Solo PR pros to share tips, stories and insight on PR and working independently. It′s held Wednesdays at 1 pm ET.
#measurePR, recently started by @shonali and held bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 12-1 pm ET
#PRStudChat, a monthly Twitter chat moderated by @dbreakenridge and host @valeriesimon that is designed to bring together PR students (that′s where the "stud" comes in), professionals, and educators for conversation about PR, as well as learning, networking and developing mentoring relationships.
Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston′s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on LindsayOlson.com. Learn more her here.