If You Charge For It, It Ain’t a Tweet-up!

tweetup_fail2Call me a social media purist but one of the best aspects of this new medium is that it fosters free collaboration, information sharing and interaction among participants. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from those I’ve met and interacted with on various social media channels. This open spirit is the main reason why large companies, traditional marketing execs and members of the traditional media have a hard time utilizing social media to its maximum potential.  The old rules simply do not apply.

I bring this up because the Phoenix PRSA is organizing a meeting of its members. Its charging members to attend and calling it a Tweet-up. Now since when did Tweet-up’s get hijacked like this? Well, for one thing, let me be clear, a Tweet-up can’t be hijacked because any ad-hoc, spontaneous, free, social event organized via Twitter is a Tweet-up. However, in this particular case the name Tweet-up is being hijacked. In my estimation this event surely cannot be called a Tweet-up.

I have nothing against Phoenix PRSA, the organizer of the event or the organization itself. In fact I didn’t even know the organization existed until a few days ago.  I say this just to be clear on my intention here. My point is not to go on a rant against them. I’m only commenting on the fact that while there are no spoken rules on what qualifies for a Tweet-up and what doesn’t, I can tell you what it represents to those of us for whom social media has meant more than just the latest band wagon.

So, to me here are the characteristics of a “true” Tweet-up:

  • In its truest form a Tweet-up should be free, accessible and relevant to your friends on Twitter
  • The more spontaneous the better
  • There should be no  “member” vs.  “non-member” distinction
  • Organized in the spirit of being social – (no Amway salespeople please)

Now based on this, the Phoenix PRSA “Tweet-up” does not qualify. This event is essentially an organizational meeting that is being organized and promoted on Twitter. So, call it a member meeting or an end of summer gathering for PRSA well wishers, but please do not call it a Tweet-up!

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