I’ve been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember. I used to come home from grade school and write fiction stories in a beat-up yellow spiral notebook that I found in the back of my closet, and I’d be praised after showing the final products to my family. As a result, I’ve also always been confident in my writing abilities. But my first real work experience as an intern with a non-profit organization taught me that people in the business world have no interest in reading pages upon pages of “fluffy” words. I was told one day by my boss to write a press release about an upcoming event, and despite my lack of experience, I got right to work writing down everything I knew about the company in long-paragraph form. I was happy to march back to her desk with a two page report in hand.
Needless to say, if you have any experience with press releases, I underwent a pretty extensive revision process.
Turns out, my boss preferred to read news that is short, sweet, and to the point. She told me that journalists and readers of the news would agree and no one would read an article as long as the one I had written. I couldn’t find my finished product online, but a very similar press release about the same event can be found here.
This same “short and sweet” theory is perfectly exemplified by Twitter. In a humble 140 words or less celebrities, businesses, and “regular people” alike can communicate anything from a new business venture to what’s for lunch today. Julian Dibbell, in the “Future of Social Media” article, explains that there is not one answer to the question “why use twitter?” Different people have all different reasons for tweeting, but a major one is referred to as microblogging. A tweet is a short and concise way to send information only to people who have an interest in what you are saying, and Dibbell refers to this form of communication as a low-maintenance way to make connections with others. The article is a bit outdated, as Twitter has grown exponentially since it was written nearly two years ago in 2009. Dibbell asks is Twitter “something bigger than a niche pursuit?” I think we can agree that, judging by its continued popularity, the website was indeed a profitable and useful idea.
A few weeks after my press release incident with the non-profit, I was asked to create a video about the organization to be entered into a contest. I created the video along with another intern, and the first round of the contest entailed receiving as many views on YouTube as possible. We used tools such as twitter to show our work to everyone we knew. Not only did we win the first round (proving the wide influence of twitter), but we won the entire contest, earning a grand prize of $6,000 for the charity. I posted the video below to be an example of the power of a twitter account.