Ripped from the Headlines – Twitter

(Jul 6, 2009) For anyone who spends time online, the mention of certain social media tools has become ubiquitous no matter where you go.  Facebooking has become a verb like Googling.  Digg is both a website and something you do to promote what you like on the web.

Twitter has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the charts of web awareness over the last eight months, starting with it’s use around the inauguration events in November 2008 and really coming into focus around the events in Mumbai a few weeks later.

I was still quite surprised to see it jump off the headlines of  The Washington Times this morning when I stopped to get coffee: “Palin fires back at critics on Twitter.” The Times is a very conservative newspaper by Washington standards, and to have that screaming from beneath their masthead gave me a jolt.  My mind registered “Twitter” but took a minute to orient where I was seeing it – in this very unexpected context.

On Wednesday of this week, July 8th, I am giving a workshop to a local Democratic organization called The Brigades.  This grassroots/netroots organization originally formed to help elect  Jim Webb to a Senate seat in Virginia, and has since then been actively involved in other elections both local and national.  My goal is to work with these highly motivated volunteers to address both the technical aspects of using social media and the political strategy necessary to do so successfully.

When “old media” starts trumpeting the power of “new media” we can believe that these things are no longer a novelty, but forces of communication to be recognized and conquered.  Whether it’s big business, small business, business professionals, non-profit organizations, civic organizations or political groups, social media has become the communication tools of choice.  I continue to be surprised at how slowly many professionals are moving in acquiring these new skills.