As I sit down at my computer after a full day of long, stressful classes, one of the first things I do is check my Twitter account to see what my friends have been up to. Okay, I’ll admit I don’t only follow my friends and PR professionals; I also follow a few of my favorite celebrities (I know what you’re thinking, but it’s just one of those guilty pleasures in life). As I read my friends’ and celebrities’ tweets about what they are doing, I often think to myself: “Are you asking for someone to rob you?”
Twitter is one of the newest forms of social media and has become extremely popular with young adults and celebrities, but is everyone using this Web site for the right reason? Of course, some people are absolutely getting their name out there for job opportunities, self-branding and, most importantly, to have fun. However, in news media reports we are now seeing an increase in celebrity houses getting robbed and vandalized. Some celebrities are even having trouble with stalkers, which isn’t uncommon, but could some of these problems be prevented? I think so. For Example, take a look at Paris Hilton’s Twitter account, and you can know where she is and what she is doing.
Recently, a new Web site has emerged that snitches on people and their misuse of Twitter. It’s called pleaserobme.com and was designed by Barry Borsboom. The Web site has received some negative press because it’s letting burglars know when people are not home, but the intention of the site is to raise awareness about safe social media practices. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to get on this site and make fun of people who haven’t figured out how dangerous the Web can be, but I respect that people are finally becoming aware of safe social networking. The Web site states, “The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”
Now, what should celebrities be tweeting? As a PR student, I learn about all the different uses for social media and the success it can have when used correctly. Celebrities should be promoting their products, book tours, movies and appearances; not that they are going to be on vacation for the next two weeks. Celebrities need to learn from PR agencies who have caught on to the Twitter craze and recently started using Twitter for extra exposure for their clients, giving them an edge and allowing them to connect with a higher number of people.
I’m not one to pick on the rich and famous. Even I have found myself using Twitter as more of a status update rather than a way to increase my presence in a world that is all about social media, and I’m sure others are just as guilty. PR is all about getting out there, making a name for yourself and promoting clients. Twitter is one of the best ways for PR students and professionals to meet one another, share ideas and possibly land a job, which has become fairly difficult these days. My advice, to myself as well as others, is to make the most out of social media and learn from the people who have mastered it.
Get out there and connect, but tweet safely.