When You Dismiss Twitter, You Miss The Big Picture
November 5, 2013
Twitter is expected to hit the public market this week, making its stock accessible to retail investors.
Along with most social platforms, Twitter offers brands the opportunity to serve fans and communities, disseminate information to a wider base (and faster, too), and be discovered by a new audience every day.
There's also no denying that a brand's traditional cume reach strategically merged with Twitter involvement can drive each other (even lifting ratings for certain TV programs as Nielsen is discovering).
Yet, somehow there are still too many in storied industries such as TV, print, and radio detached from Twitter.
And while it's hard to truly value what you don't understand, Twitter has in fact become a big part of today's culture (and a larger part of your fans' screen time). So it should drive broadcasters to want to gain a better sense of what it means and how fans are using this platform.
Perhaps one way to help connect the dots is to take a look back to memorable moments in history and pop culture that actually played out on Twitter.
It may have started in 2009, when an eyewitness tweeted US Airways Flight 1549 landing on the Hudson River:
This was actually one of the first moments where Twitter (via everyday people) broke a story with a visual before traditional news outlets did. For many of us, it was a red letter day in Twitter history because the potential of consumer-driven breaking news reporting became a reality.
Also in 2009, Twitter was the source where many first heard about the death of pop icon, Michael Jackson:
In 2010, it was Haiti's earthquake that really propelled the use of eyewitnesses into "On-The-Scene Citizen Journalists":
And in 2011, remember when this man inadvertently live-tweeted the Osama Bin Laden raid?
This tweet actually led to the news breaking of Bin Laden's capture before the President of the United States could take to the podium to confirm it:
From serious moments in our country's history to conversations between former rivals (like this one below), Twitter has given its users a front row seat to moments we would never have been so intimately involved with:
Early on, Sports and Twitter actually began driving each other.
There's something dynamic about following a game with hundreds, even thousands, of other fans all around the country or world.
And the first sports tweet to ever resonate with the masses played out last year when Green Bay Packers Lineman T.J. Lang tweeted about a botched call by those "replacement refs" when the Packers played the Seattle Seahawks.
In fact, this was the third most retweeted tweet of 2012, just behind posts from Justin Bieber and President Obama:
And months later in 2012, a more serious, devastating event emerged. This time it was the American Red Cross who displayed the power of Twitter.
"Hurricane Sandy became the marquee event that showed the potential of what Twitter could do" according to Laura Howe, vice president of public relations for the American Red Cross.
Because Twitter is built as a texting platform, The Red Cross managed to track tweets from those affected and save millions of lives:
And this year, the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy was perhaps the first terrorist attack on American soil in the age of Twitter (and the smartphone).
It's also the first where federal, state and local law enforcement collectively tapped into this platform to pass on correct information to the masses immediately.
Even the FCC used Twitter to pardon the expletive that was broadcast shortly after the bombings when Boston Red Sox David Ortiz addressed Fenway Park:
And in July of this year we witnessed the first person to ever live tweet from a plane crash - that they were in!
David Eun, Head of Samsung's Open Innovation Center, shocked Twitter users when this showed up in their live feeds during the Asiana Plane Crash in San Francisco:
For radio there have also been moments of Twitter awe.
Whether it has simply been by making a fan's day with a response or following them back, we now get to be even closer with the audience and the artists we play.
When Justin Bieber acknowledged Local Media's Z90/San Diego during his stop in June, he elevated Z90's already strong value and credibility among fans:
There are so many more moments that have played out on Twitter – too many to list. The point is, we miss out on a huge part of today's culture when we dismiss this platform.
Perhaps Biz Stone, one of Twitter's founders, puts it best, "[Twitter] is such a simple tool, yet people have done so many amazing things with it."
It offers everyone a voice.
But if you only focus on the boring, inaccurate, or self-indulgent tweets that can make Twitter appear tiresome, you miss the big picture.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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