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A Few Words on Twitter from the Man Who Manned the White House Press Room

Mark Kollar  Follow

Robert Gibbs BriefingAs special adviser and former press secretary to President Barrack Obama, Robert Gibbs has learned a few things about social media and Twitter, working with probably the most social-media savvy president to date and journalists who consider social-media platforms essential parts of their daily story-finding and profile-building activities.

But his advice doesn’t stop with just the press.  “If your clients are not using social media, then they will not be the brands that grow or strengthen for long,” he told the Council of PR Firms at the group’s annual Critical Issues Forum in New York last week. Many agreed, noting that new media now allows them to cultivate customers 24/7 around the world.

The press, however, is at the core of Gibbs’s work and he described how the use of such channels is changing everything from elections to events.

“The 2012 elections will be the ‘Twitter election’,” he said. No real surprise if you look how Twitter is becoming a fundraising tool.

But Twitter is even changing the definition of an “event” and the process of news dissemination. “An event can now be just two Tweets,” Gibbs said.  Wow, just 280 words, and we are event-worthy.

When I asked Mr. Gibbs about how “real” Obama’s love for Twitter is (remember the media chatter about whether he would get a Blackberry), he explained that the president actually cannot be a real “user” because any tweet he sends and any tweet sent to him is part of the national dialogue, or the national archives. That keeps the 140s at a very high level and direct responses low.

The White House does keep a staff active in maintaining official Oval Office Twitter handles, and Gibbs suggested that I look at what is covered closely on those Twitter feeds to see what is high on the agenda for the president.

Good idea.  Maybe no big wows as I more closely follow the pace of the President’s tweets and their subject matter but applying Gibbs’ assessment of brands and corporations, 2012 will no doubt be the year of the Twitter election… and maybe YouTube, Foursquare and Tumblr. CJP

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