10 Candles for Twitter

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Published on March 24, 2016, at 8:00 a.m.
by Hannah MacInnis.

As we continue to live in an age of 24-hour news and media, let’s take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to the social media platform we look to for concise updates, Twitter.

Twitter is 10

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first-ever tweet, “inviting coworkers.” Ten years later, Twitter has more than 260 billion accounts. The social media platform has proven to the world that 140 characters can make or break a brand.

There have been a number of trials and triumphs different companies have faced when using Twitter for PR purposes, so let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

Allstate used Twitter to its advantage when launching its “Mayhem” campaign. Tweeting nearly 450 times in one day, Allstate literally created mayhem on Twitter for anyone that followed the campaign. This tactic not only got the word out about the company’s new campaign but also boosted Allstate as a brand to younger audiences who are more “social media savvy.”

When a PR tactic goes wrong for a company, especially on a popular platform like Twitter, efforts can come crashing down.

Take McDonald’s, for example, when it learned the hard way that you cannot control a hashtag. When the company asked for #McDStories to go with its #MeetTheFarmers campaign, unsatisfied customers told their negative experiences rather than positive, which led to its followers reading horror stories. For McDonald’s, a branding nightmare ensued.

Courtesy of Danielk2 via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:McDonald%27s-Svedala.JPG
Courtesy of Danielk2 via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:McDonald%27s-Svedala.JPG

Joined by many more big name brands, McDonald’s suffered the PR disaster that came along with a Twitter campaign gone rogue when its hashtag turned into a bashtag.

This is why companies should be careful when considering their next Twitter campaigns. All things aside, Twitter has helped companies become more engaging for business owners and customers alike.

So, next time you take to Twitter, make sure to remember that the impact of 140 characters isn’t as small as it appears. Here’s to the most powerful 10-year-old we know.

— Happy birthday, Twitter, love Platform.

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