If you can’t do the time, don’t do social

Social media has made me more confident. No, scratch that. It’s made me bolshy – but in a good way. Why? Because it’s empowered me to position myself as an expert in PR, marketing and digital by virtually networking with professionals around the clock, and around the globe.

Just as Twitter has significantly evolved since launching eight-years ago, I too have transitioned from a teenage ‘me-former’ (“Look at me, look at me” 10 Things I Hate About You stylee) to an ‘informer’ who’s starting conversations with CEOs, influencers and stakeholders – and getting noticed – without even leaving the sofa.

10 Things I Hate About You

I originally set up my blog so I could enjoy writing without restriction. If you’ve ever worked in an agency you’ll know that getting sign off on copy is similar to running the 400m hurdles, by the time you’ve spoken to multiple directors and clients. Prime Time may be going through the terrible twos, but things are going better than ever and Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are helping me to drive traffic and raise awareness every day.

But, more than just boosting my profile, Twitter’s having a wider positive impact on the industry for the following reasons:

The edit

Forget forming an intelligent opinion in 140 characters, creating any sort of ‘stand out’ call to action is no mean feat – especially when images and links are eating into your word count. All social networks, but Twitter in particular, are encouraging people to become better communicators…

A bold approach 

…and because there’s no space to waste we’re getting straight to the point. This succinct culture is almost a million miles away from the PR lab I was brought up in where we’d waffle until the cows come home using a self-important language to explain what we’re doing and why – occasionally using this tactic to bury bad news…

Do your research

…but on social media there’s no room for mistakes. I’ve fallen foul of mis-researching or being out of date – and there’s always someone, in or outside of your networks, who will call your bluff. After all, you’re accountable to your followers and fans. That means responding to everyone and no sneaky deletes.

But, while I can deal with one or two tweets constructively criticising my PR rants, the benefit of the social media community policing itself is also its downfall. Yes, we’ve seen charity campaigns such as #BringBackOurGirls and #NoMakeUpSelfie prosper from content snowballing throughout cyberspace (here’s some other examples where it’s also worked well) but on the whole, more people choose to use social media as their chance to be negative, offensive and cruel. #Unnecessary and #Childish.

Naomi Campbell wakes up like this

I’m sure we can all agree that social media has not only been a game-changer for us on a personal and professional level. But, it’s also impacted youth culture, news distribution and even the law – and I don’t think any of us expected that.

Used wisely it can create groundbreaking careers (For the record, if anyone wants me to sit on the sofa and talk about my life I’ll gladly jack it all in to become a YouTuber); used recklessly, it’ll see you do time.

This blog originally appeared on the UK Blog Awards website, as a guest post during the blog competition.

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