Twitter turned 10.
And I couldn’t be happier. Let me tell you why — I just love Twitter. I love it all. Its speed. Its brevity. And its depth.
Yes, I know it’s not the number one social media platform. And when you compare its 320 million followers to Facebook’s 1.5 billion, the blue bird takes on a sheepish look.
But I believe this platform is the best way to connect efficiently and strategically.
First, you get news and you get it quickly. I love knowing what is going on.
It also allows you to target where you want to be. I can drop in to find people and organizations that care about what I care about.
This is literally the place where the revolution can — and will — be publicized.
Still, I can’t help but feel very strongly too much of the nonprofit world is missing the boat. Businesses and celebrities get it. And it is also true that those groups have the money to get it. They can hire people to help them.
But social media, and particularly Twitter, does not have to be the big feared time suck. It’s like anything else. It takes discipline, planning and strategy to do it.
We teach social media to nonprofits and to journalists. And here’s the four main misconceptions we see too often about Twitter.

  • People are intimidated by 140 characters. They believe it demands being clever. Or they think brevity=being mean and/or snarky. Neither is true. I think if you are genuinely interested, polite, positive and don’t engage with the negative, I think you can sidestep most of the difficulties.
  • But nor is Twitter a place to be boring. Think about what surprises you. What do you find interesting. It’s not your press release, that’s for sure.
  • People forget it’s like any communications, it’s always about your audience. If you forget that, you can forget success.
  • People believe Twitter takes too much time. (This is, once you dig down, usually related to the first problem.)


So, as we wish this 10-year-old a happy day, remember one decade is a tender time in terms of development. Maybe it would help if we spent more time with the little bird? (By the way, did you know his name was Larry?)
Yes, it will be good for Twitter. True, its growth is a bit flat. But the bigger truth is it will be even better for you, because you know the other thing I love about Twitter? It transforms you into a communication rock star. Think about it. If you can deliver messages about your mission, your vision, your values, your work in blasts of 140-characters, you are honing your talents with verbal wind sprints. You are better trained for the marathon that is day-to-day communications.Because that bird can really help you fly too.
Happy Birthday Twitter and thanks for an interesting decade.
Susy Schultz is the president of @PublicNarrative. You can follow her @Susys.

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