Rather than me trying to convince you about the power of social media, or how my services could help you business, I've handed over that honour to one of my clients, Christine Megson. 

#Whytweet? 

For a twitter twit like me,  coffee with Ali, a mum of three  who makes a living from twitter was the wake up call I needed to make me sit up and think carefully about the little blue bird.   It wasn’t just the caffeine, it was the quick realisation that none of us  can afford  to go on  ignoring  social media.  It is everywhere and those fun and harmless looking platforms know more about us than we do. More importantly, it can be a friend.

Who knew ?

As a journalist for the 20 years, I’ve relied on “trusted” sources, and  I hoped that we had it covered. We don’t. The lines between reality and cyber space are blurring and we can’t afford to  have our heads in the sand about Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin – the list goes on.  Its all about visibility and being heard in the digital conversation that is going on 24/7 in parallel to our ordinary lives,  a bit like an underworld,  we know it’s there but don’t necessarily want to look.

Well, here’s the thing, it isn’t going away.  I admit that  although a busy working mum of 3 Iike Ali, unlike her I secretly hoped that it was just a passing phase and that at least Twitter would disappear.  I can cope with Facebook, as a useful social and business tool but couldn’t imagine having enough time to devote to something that, let’s face it, is virtual and largely white noise.  At least that’s how it appeared to me.  Well, how wrong can you be.   As a twitter novice,  all I saw was a  a constant stream of  inane gossip and time wasting celebrity titillation.  What I should have been seeing is  is a highly sophisticated marketing and PR tool with more power at its fingertips than a TV station.

Have a look around at the news and where it comes from . When the Windsors announced the birth of Princess Charlotte, it wasn’t by proclamation placed on a gold easel outside the Palace  - it was on Twitter.  

We have come to rely on it as one of the biggest tools in the breaking news toolbox.  The Earthquake in Beijing, Whitney Houston found dead,  a Plane landing in the Hudson river and Lance Armstrong’s retirement. Not to mention Donald Trump’s twitter feed  (entertainment at its best) but a powerful world voice. Politicians  largely conducted their business on twitter - the air in the Westminster village  is alive with hashtags and retweets telling the stories behind the headlines.

 So I’ve made the break I’m tweeting away like a baby seagull, gathering followers and cruising along the digital ocean sending my little bleeps out into the ether.  Honestly?  To begin with it was like having another child – It’s not  called  a Twitter feed for nothing. Keeping my followers fed with juicy morsels can be time consuming,  but look at it another way.  It is said that Twitter is the shortest distance between ourselves  and those we want to connect with. In just 140 characters  we  can ask a range of opinion, check facts and meet like-minded people.  For me that is all precious research time saved in the car and on the phone and raises my business profile as I go.

Social media is so much more than timewasting  for teenagers, there is a big conversation going on that we all need to hear.... I’m listening.

Tweet Christine @meganewswest