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Twitter handle is your identifier

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There’s a lot of discussion on the net of late of the need to develop and use a Google+ Profile, also known as an identifier. No question I am working on my Google Profile through my activity on Google+, but your identity of record for now is your Twitter handle.

  • How do I identify you when I mention you in my blog? By providing a link to your Twitter handle in parentheses after your name.
  • How do I let you know on Twitter that I cited something you said on my blog? By giving you a hat tip (h/t) with your accompanying Twitter handle.
  • How do I give you or organization a shout out for something you did or said, perhaps something I picked up in a press release? By including your Twitter handle after a “kudos.”
  • How does our LXBN network give attribution to you as the post author when calling out a blog post on Twitter? With your Twitter handle.
  • How do I let you know that I shared your blog post or article on Twitter? By giving you the attribution with your Twitter handle.

In this day where social media is at the heart of virtually all public relations’ efforts we have PR professionals who don’t have or don’t use Twitter. That’s nuts.

Imagine I want to let the PR person for Gonzaga Law know that I have given them a shout for a recent legal services project. I go to Google to look up her Twitter handle. Nothing. I go to LinkedIn looking under her contact info. Nothing, except a link to the school’s website.

Imagine my looking for the Twitter handle of the person distributing a press release for LexisNexis, Thomson-Reuters, or a major law firm and finding nothing. And that’s after I spend 5 or 10 minutes looking on Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter. There’s often more than one person with the same name so you need to dig when people don’t make it easy.

Why do I care? Because I am trying to build relationships with these folks. I don’t view media and PR as a one-way street anymore. Social media, Twitter included, enables two-way relationship building communication.

Relationships that lead to trust. Trust that leads to passing on stories and the subject of stories to those who trust us. We get news and information from those we trust today, not necessarily from news organizations that you push stories to.

Those of you foolish enough not to have a Twitter handle ought to care too. If you’re a reporter or PR person, you need to build relationships with those of us who influence others and amplify your stories. You cannot build relationships by turning your phone off and not giving out your name — that’s what it’s like when you don’t make your Twitter handle readily identifiable.

For lawyers, get your Twitter handle out there. It’s how I and many others will identify you when we want to cite you, on or off Twitter. It’s also how your target audience can get to you know and begin to trust you.

The trust you build via Twitter alone is enough to get others sharing your blog posts on Twitter. Far better to have others Tweet your posts, than for you to do so.

I’ve always told folks that having a G-Mail address is like having a social security number. I’m feeling the same thing with Twitter handle. You’ve got to have one.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Dynomosquito.