Beyond PR

Oct 25, 2010

Twitter TV Style

In all the years that I’ve worked for PR Newswire, I’ve attended countless conferences yet, I had the jitters going into SABEW’s most recent conference in New York.  This one was different.  I would have to tweet live from the conference – something I’d never done before.

Kevin Noblet, deputy managing editor at Dow Jones Newswires; Rob Maruster, COO JetBlue and Vasant Prabhu, vice chairman Starwood Hotels on a panel at SABEW

Tweeting only recently became part of my daily PR Newswire duties. At first, I just didn’t get the Twitter thing.  The posts looked like someone had just randomly run their fingers over the computer keys and hit enter.  It made no sense.

So, I spent the past year learning about hash tags, hootsuite and how to squeeze my thoughts into 140 characters. Thankfully, I had a great Twitter mentor in Vicky Harres, PRN’s director of Audience Development and @prnewswire team leader.

In time, I pretty much mastered the art of tweeting (because I do believe it is truly an art).  Now, when I start my day, one of the first things I do is log on to Hootsuite and start tweeting. Still, the idea of tweeting LIVE from a conference scared the heck out of me.  How would I listen and tweet without missing something as well as retweet what others at the conference might be tweeting about?!?

Armed with survival tips from my team, I approached my task with both excitement and trepidation.  Much to my surprise, what I discovered was that LIVE tweeting is a lot like live TV reporting.  That adrenaline rush I used to feel when I was sent to the scene of a breaking news story came flooding back.  The players were a bit different but the objective was the same — get the facts, listen for compelling soundbites and tell the story in a quick and concise manner.

So as I sat there listening to the various SABEW panelists from the executives of Starwoods and JetBlue to award-winning business columnists from the NY Times and Bloomberg, my television reporting instincts instantly kicked in.  Rather than a microphone and a reporter’s notebook, my laptop and a wifi connection were my tools to tell the story on @prnewswire.  Once that “ah ha” moment hit me, tweeting from the conference was a breeze.

Reporting Live from Twitter, I’m Brett Simon

Media relations manager Brett Simon contributes regularly to the @PRNewswire presence on Twitter, and also tweets under the handle @savsimon

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