Tweeconomics – Does Twitter’s Success Reflect a New Business Mentality: Collaboration and The Human Resource

Posted: April 23, 2009 in Business, Economics, Economy, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter
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Business is competitive – nothing new there. It always has been and always will be. Evolutionary truism, as applied to the recession, would imply that as resources become less available – i.e. banks not lending, people becoming more frugal…etc. – we should expect behavior to become increasingly competitive. It is in our nature to fight for resources & value, when such subjects are scarce. And while I can’t deny that the recession has exacerbated many facets on the business world that are known for their hyper-competitive nature, I would suggest that twitter represents a new model, one that flourishes in the face of limited resources by actually creating and discovering objects and information of value – a reason many of us have embraced the service in the past few months – a process made possible only via collaboration. Although, I suppose it could simply be a fluke that the site’s popularity surge coincided with a particularly financially trying time in our nation’s history.

A few years ago – Google did something similar. Information, valued at one point for credibility, accuracy, and validity, suddenly became subject to a newer criterion by which to be judged – availability – accessibility. Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia…same premise. I’m not going so far as to say that nothing on the Internet is true, but Generation Y, Millennials, Today’s Teens & Youth all hold by the same philosophy as I did as a child, with TV- “if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.”

People have a difficult time defining twitter, explaining why it’s valuable and important. I would say that Twitter’s greatest capability is that all of its users, all twitters, become resources in and of themselves. Twitterers ask and answer each other’s questions, Twitterers form business connections and network, people from competing agencies come together and collaborate on mutually beneficial programs.

Example 1: #Masquertweet – 3 guys, from 3 separate, and thereby competing, firms, find each other on twitter and plan what is turning into a massive summer tweet-up costume party. (@PRCog @PRDudeMe). One Idea…it started as a joke, but people responded to our open conversation with tweets like “I’d go to that!” Pretty soon, a #Masquertweet website and invite page were created. Then other parties – event planners, people with connections to vendors and venues…joined in…and the project took off. An idea that just a year ago would have taken time and effort to develop, so much so that it never would have transitioned out of the funny, half-serious concept, stage, quickly evolved into an actualized (hopefully), fully planned, and organized event – only because the twitter economy elevated it to collaborative venture. Twitterers became resources, tools, and Twitter itself has become a de facto breeding ground for such exploits – a community that is of great value in an economy that resists independent efforts.

Example 2: #SMPR – Every PR/Marketing/Advertising Agency is scrambling to untangle the web of social media and quickly understand how to best utilize the plethora of services and platform. Every day there are new case studies of triumphs and failures. People proclaim themselves as Social Media Experts, but I would argue that there’s no such thing. And this is the principal on which #SMPR was founded. Social Media changes. Not yearly, not monthly, not even daily. It’s constantly changing – All currently popular platforms are engaged in a perpetual race to add new features, on-upping each other while new innovative websites and social media endeavors pop up and die ad nauseum. All the while, PR & Marketing Execs desperately try to predict which one’s will take off and how to effectively employ their features on behalf of clientele. And each day brings new sites, new options, more material to digest. So…instead of competing for celebrity and status “who can be The social media expert, a group of us from different, again – competing, agencies, have come together to compare notes, share experiences, exchange information. We have case studies on Successes and Failures and round-table discussions on the latest PR & Social Media News. We have become resources to each other – enabled by twitter.

Example 3: #IAMPR – After witnessing the success of #SMPR, @Elliotschimel and I, @Aerocles (David Teicher) Decided – Hey, we’re all in this boat together. PR & Social media is a growing industry, people talk about it, blog about it and tweet about it all day long…and twitter facilitates those conversations, so let’s get as many people involved in this dialogue as possible. So we wanted to allow PR People using twitter to Identify themselves and find others – a simple list – that was really a directory of valuable human resources. And so #IAMPR was born and within hours, it was tweeted and retweeted and already spawned a list of PR pros from across the country – found at and above. What was done here – creating a community in mere hours, taking a group of disparate individuals, united by interests and industry but distanced geographically – This is what social media is all about. I AM PR.

And this isn’t limited to our microcosmic Twitterverse. At a recent meeting, a client who runs an integrated marketing agency mentioned that they are planning to launch a website which would provide free services to start-ups…and even suggest other businesses for the rest of their budget-friendly, entrepreneurial needs. They want to create a community where businesses collaborate to encourage growth and development which will, in turn, increase consumer spending, and provide a much needed boost to the economy, and will allow the unemployed to found their own businesses.

This system of collaboration, has, of course, existed before twitter and before the recession, but in many ways, it was incomplete and ineffective. Collaboration is now more valuable that competition and Twitter’s success may be predicated on tapping into that new market for teamwork and the human resource.

Elliot Schimel Elaborates – Putting This into the Grander PR Context:

“This is a turning point for the public relations industry and community.  As an industry, there are hundreds, if not thousands of industry based networking events every year.  PRSA and the Publicity Club do a phenomenal job in career development, particularly for junior lever executives.  But one of the major flaws of the public relations industry is that it has major difficulties doing its own PR.  PR firms and professionals often conduct PR campaigns for themselves (but most of the time they don’t), however no one creates campaigns to explain the major role PR plays in a brand’s marketing campaign.  Ironically, the advertising industry conducts masterful PR campaigns for itself and as a result the budgets for even the smallest advertising campaign dwarfs any brand’s PR budget (even neglecting the cost of media buying).  Case in point, what makes Budweiser pay millions of dollars for billboards in Time Square and Superbowl commercials, while spending a small fraction of their marketing budget on PR?

CMOs should be actively hiring PR professionals to implement social media strategies because social communication must be conducted as a two-way conversation.  As public relations professionals come together through social media and collectively become the authority in shaping major brands perception, the essentiality of public relations is exposed. PR professionals are active throughout social networks (particularly twitter) and understand the importance and reach social media can have on an organization’s brand image.  As social media becomes more relevant within marketing strategies, it is imperative for PR professionals to conduct campaigns that position themselves as essential to a brand’s success in social media — this will lead to PR getting a bigger piece of the pie.”

So What Do You Think? How Would You Define Tweekonomics? Does Twitter Reflect a New Economic Model? Is Twitter’s Surge in Popularity Linked at All to our Current Economic Condition?

Please! Let Us Know Your Thoughts!

  1. […] This post was Twitted by Aerocles […]

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