The TwitterRoom Workbook...
Every Business Will Have One
01 The TwitterRoom Idea
Most companies have rooms dedicated to managing the large
volumes of information which pass in and out each day. From
copying and print rooms, to post rooms, press rooms and media
The importance of online information now dwarfs that of the
printed word in many companies. And online information
changes rapidly and companies need to listen hard and be ready
to respond. The speed of information flow and the need to react
can sometimes be so critical that we simply need to have teams of
people together in one physical place at one time - where they
can work closely to manage these important online information
The TwitterRoom is that place.
It is a place where internet information flows can be initiated,
observed, interpreted and responded to. It is a place where
analysts, technical people, writers and broadcasters come
together in the same physical space with legal, risk and
governance specialists. The TwitterRoom emerged from The Conversation Group’s
“Social Thought Leadership Programme 2010”,
a project driven by the world’s leading
The TwitterRoom we show here is a conceptual idea. But we Professional Services Organisations.
believe every publicly listed company will have one of these
within five years (see the flow chart on the right for a light- The Conversation Group
hearted interpretation of this idea). 48 Leicester Square
London WC2H 7LT
Today, we are building “The TwitterRoom” step-by-step with our
clients and this workbook, migrating from established operational See more at:
structures to a full TwitterRoom over a two or three-year period. Download these slides at Slideshare: http://bit.ly/8YPrgW
On the ThoughtFollower Blog: http://bit.ly/cxTGXI
These slides are an overview of the TwitterRoom concept.
On the cluetrainee Blog: http://bit.ly/bDptKT
The Conversation Group, March 2010 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
02 The Outside World Is Complicated And Moves Quickly
Yesterday’s company could package its communications and broadcast them to the market. Controlled. When and how it
wanted. Now the market is fragmented and pervasive. Global and 24/7. It is alive. The broadcast is no longer sufficient to
Companies need to listen (hard), measure (lots), evaluate and consider, act, respond and react. Not Quarterly or Monthly,
but now hourly and even intra-hour.
So there needs to be a Control Centre. A place where the complexity can be seen, interrogated, understood, and managed.
There are many types of online information flow, many types of new “social data“, but because Tweets are now such a
common unit of online information flow, we’ve coined the term TwitterRoom to describe this Corporate Control Centre.
Then, simple... Now, the TwitterRoom is where it comes together...
Before: Company and Market are distinct and broadcast is easy. After: Markets are fragmented, complex and fast-moving.
03 The Online World Poses Risks and Threats
They say that the growth of the online market leads to openness, transparency and accountability, and all agree that this is a
But it can be hell for a Company’s reputation. The public at large now has the means to comment, critique and abuse, and to
have negative sentiments shared around the world. (Positive sentiment, it seems, are much harder to share as widely and
with as much impact.)
And so the Company needs to aggressively prepare for abuse and attack - it will most likely happen on the internet before it
happens anywhere else. The team needs to be technical to measure significance, commercial to recognise materiality,
socially adept in order to respond and legal to moderate or increase tempo.
The Inverted Alert System... The Basic Idea Of The TwitterRoom...
The structured alerting system (left) is a prerequisite to the listen-respond principles (right) which lie behind the TwitterRoom
04 TwitterRoom Personnel
The TwitterRoom Director is the lynchpin of the team. The role not only manages a disparate team of talents and skills, but
assumes the onerous tactical responsibility for how the Company conducts itself online. The company’s online persona,
culture and reputation vest in this person, and the role will typically report to the Board of Directors, but in any event will
also have access to the Board.
The Director oversees the Metrics Lead whose 5-strong team is responsible for watching online activity, noting its effect on
the company’s website and escalating issues when response is required. Strategy for outbound communications is passed by
the Director to the Response or “TweetOut” Team. The TweetOut Team is fed with material from the Content Team to
ensure that Company collateral is ready at all times to fuel both casual, low-key response and when required, incisive, up-to-
the-minute mission-critical information.
The Director has the services of a Legal/Corporate adviser on hand at all times to advise on compliance and risk issues.
The team comprises 5 units: Technical, Content, Legal, Metrics and TweetOut
05 Construction and Layout
The TwitterRoom comprises five principal areas. The central Planning Area is the area around which all work is coordinated
during the teams’ shifts and where the Director and Legal Adviser spend the most of their time. The AV Studio is there to
produce short-form video and sound content, uploaded and shared online in the Video Editing & Upload area. The
Metrics/Analytics team is focused on watching and interpreting web traffic to the Company’s website and the Response
Area is where outgoing communications are approved and initiated.
(see more on Slide 07)
(see more on Slide 10)
(see more on Slide 06)
(see more on Slide 08)
(see more on Slide 09)
Layout of the TwitterRoom showing the five principal areas of activity.
06 The Planning Area
The five teams [Technical, Content, Legal, Metrics and TweetOut] meet here at the start of each shift and – importantly – at
ad-hoc times during shifts as required by events.
Their job is at all times to interpret the Online Communications Strategy (OCS), which is set in the TwitterRoom on a Weekly
and Daily basis. During busy times and in extremis, the OCS will be managed on an hourly basis by the Director and Legal
The primary equipment comprises corporate Twitter tools such as Twitterfall, TweetDeck, CoTweet or Hootsuite and these
are used alongside 27/4 broadcast news channels when required to provide context and perspective.
View of the Planning Area with Metrics / Analysis room (far left), AV Studio (near left) and Response Room (far right).
07 Metrics / Analytics Area
The six-strong Metrics / Analytics Team are the eyes of the organisation. They use the ”Inverted Alert System” in Slide 03
which earned them the nickname “Bikini Team” in reference to the codeword used by the UK’s Ministry of Defence in their
terrorist-alert warning system which operated from 1970 to 2006.
The Bikini Team performs two distinct functions – the first is listening, watching tweets, tracking other online activity – such
as bookmarking sites, social networking sites and blogs cited as mission-critical in the OCS. The second responsibility is the
alerting process, and when to escalate individual issues or the communications status as a whole. They discharge this latter
responsibility with a very rigorous numerical approach – they watch for incremental changes in web traffic to the company’s
main websites or specific landing pages and if there are surges which come from specific keywords, they are automatically
alerted. They also watch the velocity (frequency) of tweets against specific adverse hashtags and if this passes a minimum
threshold, they are alerted for escalation.
In some cases, the TwitterRoom Director will be forced to change the alert status of the TwitterRoom purely due to the
numerical outputs from the Bikini Team, though in the majority of cases, status will change using experience and judgement
with the analytics as a guide.
View of the Metrics / Analytics Area for six staff assessing external activity and measuring website traffic volumes
08 Response or “TweetOut” Area
The five-strong TweetOut team is the one which initiates out-going tweets. The lone computer in the centre of the picture is
where more considered tweets – typically requiring links to content - are prepared and cued up to 8 hours ahead. The
operator here is usually called the “TweetStacker”.
The four workstations are configured in two banks of two. The nearest pair work in tandem and proof each other’s tweets as
standard before they hit “send” – they are referred to as the “Frontline Pair”. The middle pair, or “Tweaker Pair” takes
content from the TweetStacker and adapts or augments when required to make it context sensitive. The area configuration
therefore moves from the back wall as urgency increases. The back wall position is the least urgent, the middle pair tweet
using prepared material and the nearest pair initiate their own tweets and respond much more interactively.
View of the TweetOut Area showing places for the “TweetStacker”, the “Tweaker Pair” and the “Frontline Pair”.
09 Video Upload
The video upload area is where content is repurposed for the TweetOut teams to use. Videos or sound recordings taken in
the studio are edited here and archived for use by the TweetOut team, uploaded directly to company archives and placed in
standard bookmarking and interest sites.
View of the three editing workstations in the Video Upload area.
10 AV Studio
The AV Studio comprises a semi-formal interview area for company spokespeople – it is ready for use 24/7 and includes a
studio for audio recordings. Video content can go straight to hosted video services, to the company website, and into tweets
and podcasts for broader circulation.
View of the AV Studio showing recording area and sound studio (above) with casual broadcast-quality interview area (below)
11 Enterprise Tools
There are a number of corporate-level Twitter tools to help manage communications which use Twitter. These include
measurement, analytics and analysis tools, reporting tools, tools to manage a community, and tools to share the tasks of
tweeting within a team. There are tools to manage pictures and videos within Tweets. Tools to help incorporate other
content – such as web links – into tweets.
TweetDeck, TwitterFeed , Seesmic and HootSuite tend to be used interchangeably for outgoing tweets. CoTweet is often
preferred to help manage tweeting schedules and workflow in a team. We tend to deploy Yammer as a standard tool in
every installation for internal tweeting, and Twitterfall too is a standard in every TwitterRoom as a means of displaying
tweets in more open areas. Klout is a favoured measurement and profiling tool .
We rely on Echofon and Tweetie as our preferred iPhone apps – an important tool as sometimes the TwitterRoom is “live”
offsite with the CEO at meetings and events.
10 of the most valuable tools we use to manage tweeting and support the process in the TwitterRoom.
During the discussions which led to the TwitterRoom, participants on the Social Thought Leadership programme began to
move from some scepticism towards Twitter to a realisation that it was genuinely a critical phenomenon about which the
Boards of all companies should at least be informed, and at best, proactively engaged.
By the end of the discussions, we were of the view that the TwitterRoom was utterly indispensible for every company, but
were painfully aware that the idea would sound alien, if not a little absurd, to business executives who had not been deeply
submerged in thinking about Twitter. So we sought easy ways to share the TwitterRoom idea in a quick, compelling and
simple manner with board –level executives and even with CEOs.
We struggled, but eventually we stumbled upon the idea of a flowchart of decisions which a Board could take to establish the
most appropriate approach to Twitter for them. That flowchart began as a very complex entity. As we simplified it, and
laboured in increasing circles, we gained a sense of humour and realised there was a way to boil it down to an incredibly
oversimplified, almost binary, decision tree, which we called the “CEO’s Twitter Decision Tree”.
We share it here to convey in a light-hearted way the spirit of excitement and purpose with which we began and completed
this first stage of this TwitterRoom project.
The “CEO’s Twitter Decision Tree”