A couple of weeks ago, I published a list of 100 PR people worth following on Twitter. The list was not based on any arcane computation. Certainly, it held no Technorati measurement - we'd have all to start from scratch if it did as the site innovated back to zero for many. I'll rely on Google to find your links for this post.
What I wrote was - I'm not going to rank the list, because some of these professionals serve a niche segment or a specific industry. Instead, I will list them in alphabetical order. Some of these people may not meet your definition of Twitter "famous". I chose them because they participate and contribute, on Twitter and to the profession, not because they have a known name - you should do the same.
If your name happened to be at number 57, it was probably because there were 56 people whose last name preceded yours.
The list took a few days to research and more than 5 hours to pull together. My own requirements were to actually know of and have interacted with the people directly, or to have learned about them through referrals from others who spoke highly of them - in chats, conversations, on blogs. It was both the ideas shared and the connective behavior that made you noticeable.
I looked globally, Canada, Australia, UK, and other countries were inluded. Professionals teaching PR were also high on my list.
Word of Twitter
Given that the list was published on a Sunday, I expected some reaction along the lines of curiosity, especially from some of the members who would be monitoring their name. I'd wager that most people on the list did not even know I existed but in passing - on a chat, or in conversation on some network. I was wrong, the list took off.
There were as many reactions as people interested in finding out what this was about. That's the deliciously personal and unique human gut response. However, when it comes to behaviors, I observed a few, common ones. I'll depict the extremes on both ends:
- totally indifferent - hey, a new list, I'm on it, cool; I'm not on it, who cares? No connection with either the topic, or the people in it.
- mildly amused/entertained by the thought - look at that, a new list worth skimming. Some form of interest.
- curious - wondering if there was a new way of looking at PR as crossing over to digital (I think there is, obviously, the relational ability as the bridge) as some of the people on the list may not have been considered *only* PR. Good and healthy discussion here.
- enthusiastic about the discovery - many not on the list felt it was useful and wanted to share it. That gave me the opportunity to meet more people worth following.
- thrilled to be on the list - a very human reaction, one I've had myself. Was glad to correspond online and off line (email is the new offline) with this group. I loved how Drew B counted people from the agency, like you count the fingers of a newborn (new discovery). Shane Kinkennon wrote a short post, with sentiment. Catriona Pollard posted the news for her readers.
- helpful and collaborative - Neville Hobson pretty much takes the top of this category. As he was discussing that he's not technically a PR or just a PR person, he was offering a TweepML for people who wanted to take me up on the advice. It would have been very interesting to see the list take off, people publishing their own additions and versions.
- inquisitive - how do I get on the list? There were a couple of flavors of this one. Some professionals I know and have had exchanges with wondered why they were not included. In a couple of cases it was merely recency of interaction and me thinking of them as more marketing than PR. The other one was more in passing. Many added suggestions in the comments, so please explore there.
- intent on setting the record straight - interestingly, I also got quite a few resumes from practioners who felt I had passed on their qualifications. Of course I had simply not observed them actively for a few days, or had not met them, yet...
- cynical - yup, I got a couple of strongly worded messages directed at me. It's my intent to engage in discussion when they're about issues. Rarely a discussion that involves targeting me as a person, or meant to be personally offensive will move the needle. In that case, although I repect the other all the same, I choose to not take the abuse. Life is too short and no money exchanged hands in the course of the list making.
Some responses were a mix of one or two of these behaviors. Since the list was my own opinion, I thought of preserving the integrity of this conversation by publishing my thoughts about the reactions to it.
For those who wrote or contacted me because they felt they belonged on a PR list, you might consider taking a look at how you position yourself, your key words, your messaging, the topics you cover. Maybe potential clients would miss it, too? Should your Twitter profile and the about page on your blog or site be more focused?
For those who felt I should know about them. Why was the first and last time I heard from you the moment you realized you were not on the list? I like to notice good work, and engagement is a great way to connect. But perhaps I'm not the focus of your online presence.
It's not the list that matters, it's what you do with the information that has the potential to change the way you look at things. What if?
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.