The world seems to be split into two: Twitter Evangelists and Twitter Rejecters. Although I think it might be fairer to say that the world isn’t so much divided, as at the two ends of a continuum. Most people start as a Rejecter, but given the time and opportunity, will become an Evangelist and will find it inconceivable that others aren’t using Twitter too.
But what’s the point? First, let’s define what Twitter is. As you probably know, it’s a micro-blogging tool that allows you to communicate – or Tweet – messages of 140 characters or fewer to whoever is following you, or whoever is searching for the words that you include in your tweets. Someone (I don’t remember who) once described Facebook as – and I paraphrase – the “place where you find your friends annoying and Twitter is where you find strangers interesting”. And that’s true. Twitter is great for getting eyewitness accounts on events around the world, for finding links to interesting articles and for striking up conversations with people in your neighbourhood, or even on the other side of the world. So the sharp-eyed development researcher might spot a story on the other side of the world as it breaks, which is great for getting in first with that fast-turnaround documentary pitch. Or you might just find someone who can recommend a great restaurant or hotel for your next trip to an industry conference or festival. I’ve just been using it to source a transmission party venue for a Sky Arts documentary I helped to develop.
Here are some more things Twitter is good for:
- @tvmole #realscreen13 comedy reality shows didn’t always start out as comedy shows – often evolve into comedy
- @tvmole #realscreen13 need to show characters on tape to sell a comedy reality show – killer karaoke would not have sold on paper
- @tvmole #realscreen13 one show sold on a skype tape because the characters were so strong
- @tvmole #realscreen13 sometimes the better comedy comes when things go awry in the field – makes it more authentic than something more ‘produced’
- @tvmole #realscreen13 saying “this is the next Honey Boo Boo” is off putting. Better to say family comedy
- @tvmole #realscreen13 hit shows most often come when producer guided by network as to what will work best for them
- @tvmole #realscreen13 if you don’t have a track record with a network best to partner with prodco that does
But the best way to find out how Twitter will be useful to you is to start using it. It takes seconds to sign up and then you need to start tweeting. Start following some people (you can use the search function to search for keywords or people’s names) and very soon, you’ll start gathering followers.
Do: Remember, if you are using it in a professional capacity, keep it relevant, keep it friendly and be helpful.
Don’t: Broadcast (it’s rude to talk at people), boast (it’s rude just to talk about yourself) or bemoan the ‘pointlessness’ of Twitter because if you do, you never will ‘get’ Twitter (or followers).
If you are interested development tips and industry intelligence on recent broadcast commissions follow me @tvmole