I’ve been watching the news every day with anticipation for the latest Tweets from our President-Elect Trump. I know I’m not alone!
Whether you’re cheering his words, or shaking your head in dismay, there’s one thing for certain; Donald Trump is addicted to Twitter and we better get used to it, because this is how he’s going to speak to us.
Twitter has been around long enough now that people have gotten comfortable with communicating in 140 characters. These little written “sound bites” have forced us to get to the point quickly.
We have discovered that pictures and videos can say what words never could, so we post them to Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube, with no hesitation. Heck, now you can even speak to a full audience – hundreds and thousands of people – live whenever you like! Our political leaders have jumped on the opportunity to speak directly to us – minus the press’ filter – through Facebook Live. This is how we socialize!
When I train executives on how to speak to reporters, I tell them to put their most salient points into short, easily digested phrases. Give the reporter a heads up that the phrase is coming with something like “And, what I want people to really understand…” and then let the phrase rip.
What I don’t encourage them to do is speak in a stream of thought – to say whatever flashes through their heads. I teach them to take a breath and consider their words, to put up a yield sign in their brains before speaking.
Social media is a profoundly effective communicating tool. I would argue in several cases that we have never had a tool that has worked as successfully as social media.
But, there is the other side of social media that presents a challenge. Too often, people are lulled into the comfort of a quick way to communicate and forget that their words are on the Internet for the world to see. Once out there, they can’t be taken back. Far too many celebrities, business leaders and politicians have learned that lesson the hard way.
So, here’s my advice, and it’s the same advice I give my teen-aged son. If you wouldn’t say it to your mother, don’t post it on Twitter!