One of the points that college career offices like to hammer into soon-to-be-grads is that you need a “personal brand” to stand out in today’s corporate world. In a hyper-competitive environment, candidates with an instantly recognizable and easily recallable brand are sure to stand out from their peers.
“But how do I build my personal brand?!” you, an average undergraduate, might ask. More often than not, the answer can be boiled down to a single word: “Twitter.” Candidates with robust followings, a consistent stream of posts and clear interests are more memorable, as the logic goes.
And it makes complete sense. The problem is that somewhere along the way, here in the PR world, a decent Twitter account came to signify more than just a capacity to express one’s interests and connectivity, but rather an ability to excel at public relations. This is a lazy conclusion.
Twitter is one great way to signify that a candidate is #connected, #smart and #dedicated – three of SHIFT’s Core Values – but it’s also not shorthand. The trap that some PR professionals can fall into is that an audience (in this case, Twitter following) is valuable for its own sake. As we at SHIFT strive to prove on a daily basis, this is not really the case.
In today’s #datadriven PR landscape, we work to take a holistic look at how our efforts have specifically impacted our clients’ goals. We take into account many factors, and employ the latest tools to do so. We wouldn’t judge a campaign’s success on a single metric alone, and we should follow that rule when it comes to evaluating employees and candidates.
Which brings me back to the headline of this post. Isn’t it a bit self-serving to write a blog that basically boils down to a defense of why I’m not on Twitter? Yes, but there’s still a valuable point to be made. I’m not on Twitter because there’s no single channel I rely on when it comes to staying #connected, informed and tuned in to the complex landscapes that my clients operate in.
Twitter is great, but so are the countless other information channels available to us, and just because Twitter is the chosen network of the media echo chamber, doesn’t mean it should come to represent anyone’s professional abilities by itself.