Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 19, 2010

Social Media Rules for Rush Hour?

One of the modern benefits that arise when well-connected public relations professionals congregate is our thirst for reporting pertinent information on the proceedings   most frequently delivered via social media. What has amazed me in recent years when attending the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress (and other recent PRSA-sponsored events) is the volume of virtual participants who aren’t onsite.

Those following the event hash tag (#prsa_ic) are absolutely fervent with commenting, debating and retweeting posts that are originating from the gathering. In fact, I’ve noticed so many active event hash tag followers, it’s actually hard to determine if they are here in person or if they are participating remotely. And this two-way dialogue and sharing of information and education is a wonderful endorsement of the power of the “global village network” that the Internet has truly become.

That said, and after observing some of the voluminous amount of tweets here at the Conference, I thought I’d propose a few potential social media ethics and best practices that occurred to me during the past days. Since social media etiquette has always been informal, consider these just suggestions. It’s up to you to use your own good judgment:

  • Consider letting YOUR followers know you are attending an event, then simply retweet posts to them that aren’t redundant. Really. It’s OK   you’ll still get credit for sending along good content to your followers if you didn’t write the original tweet. And this year’s attendees at #prsa_ic have done a pretty good job of respecting the original tweets of others by simply retweeting. Think of the message overload that occurs when people pile on by sending exactly the same tweet that’s already been sent a dozen times with the same hash tag.
  • When adding your own editorial comments to a speaker’s remarks, consider making it clear where your point of view begins and ends in those tweets. It’s a more responsible approach and avoids putting words in someone else’s mouth.
  • Also, consider your PR and/or journalism education (if that’s your background) and cite by name the source of your tweets. That’s especially important for event attendees who may not be attending the same session you’re sitting in (or following along from miles away). Providing Web links and other pointers to source information is also helpful.

Well, it’s a start.  Anything else come to mind on group tweeting and social media etiquette that you have found helpful?

Rich Teplitsky is vice president, Lois Paul & Partners, in the agency’s Austin, Texas, office, and also serves as the current chair of PRSA’s Technology Section. A life-long early adopter of what’s new and what’s next, Rich believes the “cell-dividing” edge now trumps the leading and bleeding edges. He is also a contributor to the agency’s “Beyond The Hype” PR blog, with an eye and an ear for reporting on the challenges of tech, modern PR and the zeitgeist that was honed in his early career in broadcast journalism. Connect with Rich on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @rteplitsky.

For more coverage on the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, visit PRSA Intelligence, follow #prsa_ic and the Conference blog.

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