When reading Sandra L. Beckwith’s Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contribution , I was struck with how I agreed with the opening introduction of Chapter 5: “How Will You Say It In Media Materials?”. The chapter focuses on the process of selecting the best media tools for campaigns. It doesn’t take years of professional experience for one to understand that certain tools are more applicable and practical depending on the campaign and the messages one is trying to implement. I find this is concept can be neglected when a certain trend in media causes practitioners to jump on the latest over-hyped tool: specifically, Twitter and other social media fads.
We have seen in the past year how brands have been quick to jump onto the current trend of the moment and the results of an online presence that danced with the fine line of being present and being obnoxious. The most misunderstood tool of social media today is Twitter. Twitter is a tool best implemented when one-on-one communication would suffice between company and consumer. Twitter has proved to be excellent at networking and customer service. However, I feel that there is better success when an online community is created, especially with nonprofit organizations. Two necessary components for a successful online community are the abilities to built relationships and share information. Twitter does not suffice in these two areas; a platform such as Ning or Facebook is much better to encourage dialogue about your company, service, or product. Such platforms encourage relationship-building and lead to permanent success.
Some companies get left behind because of an imbalance when it comes to having a substantial online presence. My New Media professor, Tom Klinkowstein of Media A, was discussing online presence with me last week and said regarding social media, on average two years of active social networking is needed in order to be digitally distinct. While this may be surprising to people who enjoy the instant gratification of popular platforms such as Twitter, it must be remembered that we are moving into The Networking Age. Meaningful relationships take time to develop and last.