When a New York hotel chain announced the debut of a new live-tweeting service for weddings, it immediately sparked a backlash on social media. After all, who would drop $3,000 for a professional tweeter to broadcast their wedding to the world via Twitter? (My guess is that it's probably the same kind of people who change their relationship status at the altar. Just sayin'.)
If live-tweeting a wedding sounds absolutely outrageous to you, it shouldn't. Live-tweeting is not a new concept. Conferences, tournaments, concerts, television shows, court hearings and even family members on their deathbeds have all encouraged or inspired "instantaneous journalism in 140 characters". Live-tweeting weddings is just the icing on the cake, the sequel in a series of social media-based fads.
The idea of live-tweeting isn't bad but like anything, too much can make for a negative social experience (and disengage your followers altogether). Just because live-tweeting exists doesn't mean you should do it. Remember: live-tweeting does not equal streams of brainless tweets. That's when it becomes an epidemic.
If you're considering using this method to advertise a product, business, brand or event, understand that you could be treading on dangerous territory. How do you know when to draw the line when it comes to live-tweeting? Here are several questions you must ask yourself before embarking on the live-tweet craze:
Can it be live-tweeted?
You've got exciting news to share and you're about to get your iPhone ready for some sweet live-tweeting action. Before you go hashtag crazy, ask yourself if the event you're about to discuss in real-time is worthy to be live-tweeted. Is this scenario one that will increase your follower count? Is it guaranteed to spark a conversation? If not, you might want to rethink live-tweeting and invest your time in another form of promotion, like live-streaming video or an in-depth blog post.
Should it be live-tweeted?
You've determined your event is newsworthy enough to create an online buzz, but should it be live-tweeted? Is the subject of your live-tweet session a private moment that would best be left to those directly involved? Would live-tweeting spark a libel lawsuit with another person or business? Could you get in legal trouble for releasing this information? In this social media-driven society, it's sometimes difficult to address these questions but that doesn't make it any less important. In cases where you are unsure if something should be broadcast publically or not, steer on the side of caution.
Am I able to tweet strategically?
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by the amount of people who don't adhere to this rule. Know when to tweet and when to take a break. Live-tweeting should be a once-in-a-while occurance and when it is happening, tweets should be spread out throughout the event, highlighting only the most important aspects. Don't spam your audience with meaningless tweets. Chances are, they're going to stop watching your posts altogether (and you don't want that, do you?)
Am I able to tweet creatively?
Pictures say a thousand words but what do your tweets say? Are you using the proper Twitter handles of participants as well as the event hashtag? Are you using descriptive language to paint a mental picture of what's happening? Some of the best live-tweet entries are those with quotes and photos. Varying your tweet content throughout a live-tweeting session is always a good idea.
While live-tweeting can be a fun way to get followers involved in an unfolding event, it is not always executed correctly and could potentially backfire. By following these simple guidelines, you'll be able to avoid falling victim to the live-tweet epidemic and put your best content forward.