Although rumors were fluttering around weeks earlier, when micro-blogging phenom Twitter finally announced its acquisition of the Summize search service on Tuesday morning, it didn’t issue a press release. Instead, the co-founders Tweeted about it, linked Tweets to their blog post and let those in the Twitter community spread the news. No press release. No media advisory. No press conference. No standard PR practices here. Just a bunch of Tweets and a blog post. Did we just witness the future for corporate press announcements?
Check out the chain of events leading up to the announcement, according to the archives of Twitter co-founders Evan Williams (aka @ev), Biz Stone (aka @biz) and CEO/co-founder Jack Dorsey (aka @jack):
“composing a blog post” – Evan Williams on July 14 at 8:49 p.m.
“Big day tomorrow. Sleepy time” – Evan Williams on July 15 at 12:20 a.m.
“Meeting Biz at Whole Foods before we embark upon this grand day…” Jack Dorsey on July 15 at 7:50 a.m.
“watching the clock” – Evan Williams on July 15 at 8:52 a.m.
“It’s a foggy 9am. We’re adding a great team and technology to Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/56j2zx. Exciting!” – Jack Dorsey on July 15 at 9:01 a.m.
“announcing Twitter’s acquisition of Summize” – Biz Stone on July 15 at 9:07 a.m.
With Williams’ “holy crap” teaser, followed quickly by the others, the official word was out, sending readers straight to the blog post Stone had apparently completed the night before. From there, the followers were on to the story, re-Tweeting it, commenting via Twitter and blogs and sending others to the blog post, Finding A Perfect Match. Online news sources covered the announcement, followed by online versions of the mainstream media, who were offered a “press” link on the Twitter Web site – no more than a six-question FAQ document. Simple.
From a PR perspective, this is a refreshing change for an acquisition announcement and one worth learning from: build a base of followers who are interested in your company and what you have to say (caution: this takes time); engage them with content so they’ll stay with you (relationship building); have the announcement come directly from the top; use a conversational yet factual style that shows it wasn’t crafted by the marketing department; and, send readers straight to a blog where they can learn more (again, direct from the source).