Michelle Sullivan Communications

Twitter: Je sors de ma torpeur pour regarder de nouveau vers le ciel

J’adore. Des bijoux comme celui-ci se retrouvent sur Twitter.

Le printemps dernier, j’ai décidé de prendre une pause qui a, enfin, durée pas mal plus longtemps que prévu.

Le Québec n’est pas tout à fait transformé à mon goût, mais certains changements m’apaisent suffisamment pour que je revienne à mes moutons.

L’Université de Montréal m’a invité à reprendre la barre du cours REP2300, Relations avec les médias, ce que je ferai avec grand plaisir, dès le 10 janvier prochain.

J’ai apporté quelques changements à mon plan de cours et aux travaux à effectuer, mais cette cohorte aura, elle aussi, à apprivoiser Twitter.

Je donc l’intention de consacrer mes premiers billets de 2013 à ce sujet, dans l’espoir d’encourager les plus timides à s’y lancer de bon coeur. Car il y a là toute une richesse pour les professionnels en relations publiques en devenir …

Merci à mes abonnés, qui ont été très patients avec moi 😉 Au plaisir d’échanger avec vous ici et là.

– @msullivan

Leçons tirées du phénomène Paillé: Un peuple indifférent? Pas sur Twitter!

Les débats électoraux des derniers jours ont démontré très clairement que bien que seulement 13,7% des internautes canadiens soient sur Twitter, il s’agit d’un groupe dynamique, impliqué et intéressé par des questions sociétales de fond.  Comme l’indique le Flash Info publié par les Affaires publiques de Hill & Knowlton hier:

L’affluence sur Twitter au cours du débat en anglais de mardi soir a battu des records quant au nombre de microbillets portant sur les élections qui furent affichés, soit plus de 42 500 en trois heures, i.e. « presque deux fois et demie le nombre de microbillets électoraux affichés en moyenne en une journée complète », selon la Gazette de Montréal.

L’effet Paillé a pris son essor sur Twitter, et, faisant preuve d’écoute, les médias traditionnels ont rapidement commenté le phénomène. Au delà de l’élément ludique, l’engouement Paillé sert à jeter de la lumière sur le fait que les internautes Canadiens ont profité de Twitter pour commenter le débat en direct, utilisant des mots-clics comme #debat #fed2011 #db8 et #elxn41 pour suivre le flux de la conversation. Ils l’ont fait pour le débat, tout comme ils le font lors de la diffusion de Tout le monde en parle avec #tlmep chaque dimanche soir.

Autrefois isolés devant leur télé, les internautes se servent de Twitter pour se joindre à une communauté virtuelle et pour échanger en direct avec ceux qui partagent leurs intérêts. Ils ont accès à des internautes « ordinaires » tout comme ils ont accès aux politiciens et personnalités publiques qui se trouvent sur Twitter.

Ils le font avec les débats. Ils le font avec Tout le monde en parle. Ils le font avec votre marque.

Avez-vous analysé la conversation entourant votre marque sur Twitter récemment?

David Crystal: an analysis of Texting and Twitter by Britain’s preeminent linguist

British linguist David Crystal has a lot to say about Twitter. If you have 30 minutes to spare … maybe skip the latest episode of The Bachelor or Survivor … I’d encourage you to listen to him debunk some myths about Twitter and texting. I’d especially encourage you to listen to him if you’re still scratching your head wondering what kind of creature tweets. I would particularly encourage you to invest 30 minutes to listen to Crystal if you are the kind of person who stands up in the middle of a conference and asks why we should care about communicating to a bunch of people who have nothing better to do but to spend their days typing into a smartphone. And I know you’re out there.

Some myths, explained:

  • People actually don’t abbreviate in text messaging and Twitter as much as one might think. This is partially because Texting and Tweeting isn’t a uniquely youth phenomenon.
  • Abbreviations like CUL8tr aren’t anything new .. Lewis Carroll and Queen Victoria played around with these language rebuses
  • Young people don’t leave letters out because they can’t spell … in fact, the best texters are often the best spellers, simply because they get tons of practice. They leave out letters because « it’s cool ». Following the fashion is a socially bonding experience.
  • Texting and Tweeting in fact gives young people more motivation to write and read.
  • Students aren’t translating text-speak into their schoolwork and exams, contrary to popular belief.
  • There is an artistic dimension to the evolution of Texting and Twitter. Crystal cites Twitter poetry contests as an example.
  • Many of the sentences in a Tweet are actually quite long – you can get 30 words into 140 characters and there are often 20 word sentences in a Tweet.
  • Twitter has become more of an information exchange mechanism than it was when it first launched as a « What are you doing? » platform.
  • Twitter has value in that, among other things, it accelerates the transmission of information.



David Crystal believes teachers have an important role to play in Internet management. For young people, the electronic technology is central and the book is marginal. This isn’t going to change, so, according to Crystal, it must be managed and used in a way that becomes motivating for young readers.

According to Wikipedia:

Crystal is the author, co-author, or editor of over 100 books on a wide variety of subjects, specialising among other things in editing reference works, including (as author) the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (1987, 1997, 2010) and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (1995, 2003), and (as editor) the Cambridge Biographical Dictionary, the Cambridge Factfinder, the Cambridge Encyclopedia, and the New Penguin Encyclopedia (2003). He has also edited literary works, and is Patron of the UK National Literacy Association. He has also published several books for the general reader about linguistics and the English language, which use varied graphics and short essays to communicate technical material in an accessible manner

Social media influence: It’s not the number of friends you have … it’s the quality

We race for numbers because they’re easy to … well … quantify. Number of Facebook ‘friends’ or ‘fans’. Number of Twitter followers.

It reminds me of Valentine’s Day in grade school. I picture cute little Lynn, who, I noticed with the wisdom of a 7 year old, had all the little boys falling all over her, chasing her in the schoolyard, hoping for a kiss. On Valentine’s Day, her box floweth over with cut-out and hand-drawn valentines, courtesy of her young admirers. My box? Not so full. I didn’t envy Lynn, I don’t think, but I was fascinated by the phenomenon, viewing it with the detachment of a young anthropologist, trying to figure out a civilisation known as Boy. Maybe the reason envy didn’t raise its ugly head was that even then I recognized that the value of relationships isn’t in quantity, but in quality. And for me, there was this little boy named Sean …

The true richness of social media comes from connecting with people interested in THE thing you’re interested in. If you’re into green glowing snow-ball abacuses, and there’s only a widow in Wales and a teenager in Chile interested in green glowing snow-ball abacuses too, your goal should be to have them in your network. Not their sister-in-law, your corner store butcher and the odd guy from Turkey you’re following only because he follows you and you don’t want to be rude.

Real ROI comes not from numbers, but on what those numbers do for you. If the 250 other people you have listed as Facebook friends can’t trade abacuses with you — if they never exchange a word with you or bring you anything interesting, whether it be conversation or the trade of an antique abacus you’ve been dying to get your hands on — then give yourself a break. The next time you see someone racing to reach 1 million followers, tell yourself you’re better off with your widow and your teenager.

The same goes if you’re a car manufacturer or sell crafts online. What’s important is the conversion – it’s building a network around people who care. Not about attracting a bunch of people with some shiny promotion, and for all the wrong reasons. Yes, by joining your Facebook page they’ll automatically let the 200 people in their network know they have. But when you realize that people surround themselves with people a lot like them, chances are that your page won’t interest those 200 people either. You don’t want dead weight. You want a tribe, not a bunch of meaningly numbers.

Unless you’re trying to break a Guiness record or are a social media guru with a book deal in the works. Then, maybe, numbers count.

Social Media: gourmet, not fast food

When I think social media, I think five course meal. I think candles. I think cloth napkins. I think extensive wine list and sommelier. I think silverware. I think china. I think digestif. I think gourmet.

I don’t think fast food. I don’t think disposable flatware. I don’t think throw-away containers. I don’t think drive-through. I don’t think pepto-bismol chasers.

We’re living in interesting times. Those of us who were ahead of the wave are now watching it crash down on the beach, and the sound is exhilarating. Companies are convinced and coming to us asking for social media strategies. How do we counsel them?

It seems easy to offer up the fast food solution. Terms like ‘viral’ are bandied around, and the number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers seem to be the golden ring everyone is reaching for. But what about community? Social media is at its best when building community ties is the ultimate goal. This requires patience, investment and commitment … not really qualities we’re known for, as a society, here in North America. Or at least not qualities we’ve been known for since our economy was turned upside down in the post-war period. Since we entered into the consumer society era.

Social media is like a gourmet meal. It’s at its best when time is taken in its preparation. When benchmarking studies and influencer audits are done. When listening takes a front seat. Then you choose your wine. You take the time to choose between Bordeaux and Merlot. Blog or Facebook. You decide on vintage. Twitter or podcasting. The first course comes and you savour it. You enjoy sitting at a table with your other dinner guests, discussing common interests and learning about one another. By the time the third course is served, you’ve started to warm up to one another. You build trust. You feel you can lean over and ask for a favour or for advice. By the fourth course, you’re not surprised when the person sitting across from you at the table offers up an apology or a solution to a problem you’re experiencing. By the time dessert has been served and the last digestif enjoyed, and you stand up to leave the table, you’re promising one another that you’ll have to do it again next week. And offering to bring an interesting guest to the next dinner party.

Social media done right takes us back to a time when we relished in long conversation, and trust was earned and then sealed with a handshake. It is life at a slower pace, at a time when our business culture has us moving at breakneck speed.

It is a gourmet meal in fast-food times.