Twitter: It is What You Make of It

Twitter: It is What You Make of It

A few months ago I decided to make a professional twitter. I think it's something that most of us interns are told we aught to do. Thinking forward, I began to doubt that explaining to employers how “I just don’t really get the whole twitter thing” was going to help get me a job in a field where social networking is a powerful strategic tool.  There is certainly a learning curve with twitter and finding a “voice” is something that happened slowly for me. At first my tone was forced and inauthentic. I was posting articles with a quick comment beforehand, as if I had any authority on its content. Slowly I realized that I didn’t have to post a billion “15 tips for great PR” articles, but instead I could curate thoughtful posts which combined my personal interests with trends in the field of communication. Twitter isn’t something you’re supposed to throw yourself into. You have to orient yourself with the atmosphere, find the thought leaders you enjoy, figure out what makes strong content.

 

What really made the biggest difference to me was “following” a great pool of twitter handles. I started with news organizations. The more I read, the more I started to pick up on what I liked in journalism. That lead me down paths to individuals - and then I realized a pattern of what was resonating with me:

 

The insightful, cerebral, vibrant voices of women. I found role models, and girl crushes, and people I imagined being my best friends. I got a glimpse into a magnificent professional network that celebrates women connecting and empowering one another. I caught this positivity and enlightenment like a cold, which explains my desire to share three of my favorite women of twitter.

Meredith Fineman @MeredithFineman

 

I feel so indebted to what I've learned from this discovery that sometimes I pretend I found this woman through some romantic instance of fate… perhaps a business card left at a coffee shop. In reality a “#DC #PR #internship” search is what led me to discover Finepoint PR - an agency unafraid to describe their people as “bad asses.” Finepoint was founded by the feisty, intelligent, and hilarious Meredith Fineman. Just a quick glance through her twitter taught me a lesson for which I am still so thankful - you can have a sense of humor and be professional at the same time.

The more I researched Fineman, the more I related to her. She lives a fabulous life with a good head on her shoulders. This article highlights her ability to channel her mental acuity and social intuition as she explains the ‘gray area’ between work and play.

Fineman is a renaissance woman without spreading herself too thin. One day the firm’s website is redesigned, and the next her writing appears in Forbes. Her twitter is kind of a one-stop shop. She retweets very intentionally, spouts hilarious one liners (my favorite last week: ‘Let this backpack help me pretend I am outdoorsy’), and promotes her business tactfully.

 

Next year on the executive board for our local Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I hope to spread the love of Meredith Fineman to all of our members.

 

Zerlina Maxwell

@ZerlinaMaxwell

 

Maxwell has given me the most insight into a culture of feminism in politics. I started following her just as #survivorprivlege  emerged in response to George Will’s infamous article in the Washington Post. The twittersphere was exploding, and I was immediately drawn to the words of Maxwell. She is a rape survivor who is unafraid to combine her experience with her political voice. I sat at my desk with my jaw dropping and my heart swelling. A tame example of her tweets that day: “#survivorprivilege is feeling like you will never be able to date again bc you are 'damaged goods'." I was blown away by Maxwell’s rhetoric genius in 140 characters tweet, after tweet, after tweet.

Maxwell is reactive and constantly stepping in to offer a confident voice, often to the underdog.  Continually she’s generating online pieces or appearing on television to debate in person (and let me tell you, girl looks good doing it). Whatever she’s up to that day, it’s all grounded in her twitter. And I’m thrilled to be following along.

 

Kelly Oxford

@KellyOxford

 

I started following Kelly (okay, interjection: Last week I read a very long article discussing whether it was sexist or not to refer to Hillary Rodhman Clinton as simply “Hillary.” This has made me conscientious to female name references. But for this case, we both have the same great first name, so I’m gonna go with ‘Kelly’) because she is a popular comedian on twitter. I came to Kelly for the quick wit and I stayed for the distinct combination of being endearing and relatable with an unrelentlessly ethical perspective. Kelly is funny but her moral code is never absent. She calls it as she sees it - I can’t get enough of the honesty.

 

I also follow Kelly on instagram, which caters to a bit of a more intimate fan base. A few weeks ago she tweeted a picture of a magazine page with a quote from a popular celebrity- who happens to be a big role model for young girls. The quotation was something along the lines of how girls claim to be ‘gamers’ to get boys to like them. The celebrity said that a girl being a gamer was like “wearing a push-up bra.”

Kelly was unafraid of pointing out the subtle sexism. In her caption she asked and answered an important question: ‘Are we always trying to attract men? #nope.’ This started a feud in the comments section. She stuck to her guns and detailed exactly why it was wrong, particularly tailored to the celebrity’s young audience; “people who pretend to be interested in something to attract another person are just people who are too young to understand they shouldn’t want anyone who doesn’t want them for them” she explained.

 

When I joined in on the debate and Kelly responded to my comment with loving emojis I felt a little too cool. There was no way I was going to get through this post without mentioning that.

 

We’ve heard a million times how this is the age of too much information. I think it’s true - the internet requires deliberate navigation. At first I was overwhelmed by twitter, but now I’ve found many great uses for the ‘social medium’ (is that a phrase I can use?). Finding the distinct, informative, and nurturing voices of these women is perhaps the greatest benefit that I’ve reaped.

 

Like everything else, twitter is what you make of it. So if you haven't started a professional twitter yet, I recommend you give it a spin.

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