Wednesday, 4 January 2012

To Tweet or not to Tweet - @SimonGarrettXV

To Tweet or not to Tweet - @SimonGarrettXV

At X-Venture we are not given to intemperate outbursts or blurting out the first thing that comes to mind so it may seem odd that we are tweeting.  My first tweet was the breaking news that we had gone back to work after Christmas.  Just one more of the billions of tit bits of inconsequential e-chatter that now whirl around us.  The whole point of a consultancy like X-Venture is that we are paid to deliver carefully considered opinions.  Why then are we venturing (no pun intended) into the world of tweets?

We are paid to keep our clients up to date with the latest developments in health, safety and risk management.  Whilst most of what we deal in can hardly be described as breaking news, it does at least require us to be ‘in the know’.  I have observed over the last year the increasing role that Twitter has to play in dealing with incidents.  On one occasion at a music event, reports of crowd problems with moshing and a wall of death were being tweeted to fans outside the venue as they happened.  The result was that the venue due to host the event the following nights received these reports before the traditional NAA report which was due to follow the next day.  In one night a well-established safety tool that had been used by the NAA for years was reduced to a redundant afterthought.  One can easily see that in dealing with any incident the facts of the incident, or worse misleading facts, can be tweeted far and wide before any of the traditional reporting systems can catch up.

Some organisers and promoters recognise this and employ consultants and train staff to fight fire with fire by using Twitter to inform key stakeholders of the facts before they can be misrepresented.  My road to Damascus conversion came one night sitting in a bar in Barcelona after auditing an exhibition for one of the major organisers, and having a beer with their ‘Social Media Agitator’.  Leaving aside that he was a very engaging evangelist for the art of using social media to one’s advantage rather than falling victim to it, he also marshalled some very powerful and convincing arguments.  Not least of these was the need for companies to own the social media space in just the same way that for years I have been arguing the need for them to own the business of health, safety and risk management.  It seems we were singing from the same hymn sheet.

So how are we going to use it?  After all we can deliver considered opinions by blogs like this fairly instantly.  We can post opinions and facts or our Facebook page (yes we have one of those as well now).  In any case you cannot say much in 140 characters.  I am told by my social media advisor aka my brother-in-law that Twitter can be used as a ‘teaser’ for weighty think pieces on the blog or the Facebook page.  A canapĂ©, if you like, an amuse bouche before the main meal to come.  So we will use Twitter to let you know if there is anything we consider worth reading on this blog site or on our Facebook page.  It may take a little while to get up and running but to ‘own it’ we need to use it.

When all is said and done if Twitter is good enough for Kate and Wills to announce their engagement then it is time for X-Venture to get with the social media zeitgeist and sign up to Twitter!

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