Once upon a time there was a small, but worthy organization. Its work ranged across continents and issues, involving big businesses and small, governmental institutions, civil society and a bunch of specialist consultants. It wanted to be the leading expert in its field, but the field was so vast and the thought of getting a complete picture was so overwhelming that all its monitoring efforts had ground to a halt.
At one point, the organization decided to start an experiment. What would happen, people asked, if we tried to find just one story about our field every day? What if we shared them instantly and publicly instead of hiding them away in internal reports?
And so it happened. To find the one story, the organization subscribed to every newsletter and RSS feed it deemed relevant in its field and set up a number of Google alerts for relevant keywords. The information started pouring in, aplenty. It didn’t take long to find good stories – maybe 20 minutes a day – and often, there was more than just one. Much more was left unread. Each story was published on the organization’s new Twitter account. Within two months the organization had amassed more than 200 followers. At the end of the year, more than 450 stories were posted.
The organization knew fully well that those who could make use of the data wouldn’t read the stories on Twitter. Instead, it explored a more familiar communications tool: Email. Once a month, all stories published were circulated to all staff. The best ones then featured in the organization’s big monthly newsletter.
One day, one of the organization’s directors was asked to give an important presentation about recent developments in their field and back it up with facts and figures. This would have been a tedious, if not impossible feat before. This time, the director just smiled, turned to the Twitter stories and quickly harvested the data she needed to make her points.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you link your organization’s social media tools to the information channels that your staff or your board pay attention to?
- Which of your organization’s unmet needs can you fill by using Twitter or other social media tools?
- How can you repurpose the data or interaction generated in your other channels?