I think it’s safe to say that Twitter, and sometimes Facebook, is pretty similar to a radio station for your organization, in that you’re broadcasting your message wildly in all directions (over the Internet), with many people listening but only a handful of requests — I’d say that’s a pretty fair comparison. And it’s an analogy I feel comfortable with, because I came to Idealware from the world of broadcasting.

I know what you’re thinking — how could I turn away from that glamorous life of late nights, low pay and greasy pizza? It was tough, believe me. Thankfully, I’ve kept a few lessons I learned at the radio station. And all this time spent on Facebook and Twitter, seeing the tweets and statuses from all these organizations, reminds me of one lesson in particular.

In radio, there’s the idea of “jocks,” or disc jockeys, and personalities. Watch any TV show or movie — like American Graffiti — you know what a disc jockey sounds like. Stylized, “cool,” always speaking to a group. That’s “jock talk.” Personalities, on the other hand, are more human, less like an act. Instead of speaking to “y’all,” they speak to you. Between the songs, they’re sitting down to chat with each individual listener, like they’re close friends.

Which brings us back to social media. When you post to Twitter, are you speaking to “you” or “y’all?” Both have their advantages. When we write our fundraising emails, we speak to “you,” highlighting the importance of the individual and fostering a personal relationship. But on social media, more often the goal is to build a community. In that case, speaking in plurals can be just as powerful.

I guess in the end, it all comes down to your brand. So what are you? A “jock” or a personality?


Disclaimer: this is the most I’ve ever used the word “y’all” in a single setting.