The Real Top 14 PR Twits to Follow in 2014

Represent, “Real” PR Tweeps! 

We at PRNewser know that speaking out against clients (in the open) may be taboo. But for sake of discussion, let’s pretend it’s okay to be honest, mmmmkay?

How many times have you worked tirelessly for what seems like a millennium for a great trade story?

You earned a monstrous 90 percent share-of-voice with a sweet representation on social media to the tune of hundreds of shares, and even got noticed by other media types (local and industry). You draw up that report and hit enter with some righteous satisfaction (and possibly, a sister neck roll). And then, the client replies with … wait for it and repeat after me … “That’s all?” 

Yes you ungrateful so-and-so , metrics matter, but they have evolved. That’s how we feel about some of the “top minds” in this space making a list of “Who’s Who?” Metrics are important, as is attitude, content, engagement and relevance. That’s why this list—our list—matters. Here are our Top 14 PR Twits to Follow in 2014. 

*Snap Applause*

First, the ground rules (Timpani drum roll please):

Rule 1. MOM. “More Over Metrics” is paramount here. While having 100,000 followers is one impressive feat, doesn’t content count for something too? Do these tweeters talk back or just RT and star comments that extol their own greatness? Oh, and how about not always shilling for the blog or speaking opportunities? The peons need to be loved too: would a selfless “Hey” kill ya?

Rule 2. No Firms, Please. Isn’t it odd that the pioneering firms in social media PR doesn’t seem to understand how to be “social”? Sure, the blog posts are good reads…but this list is about the people who make our job better every day. The others? They already know they are great. No need to praise them here.

Rule 3. Forget Where You Came From? Whelp, We May Forget You. Have you ever sat in a room with a Burson, Edelman or Ogilivy? It’s like sitting in the grand hall with the Great Oz before the curtain is pulled back. However, there are some PR and SM pros who want to be of their ilk but don’t treat people (e.g., flacks, media, flacks, vendors…did I mention fellow flacks) with the same respect they did when they were coming up. They did not make this list.

And now, on with the show (in no particular order because they are all pretty great)…

1. Gini Dietrich. Her brainchild, the prodigiously titled “Spin Sucks,” is sure to make any PR or social media list out there. Why? Engagement. She devours content and spits it right back out on her blog (but in a classy, not too drool-looking fashion). She is one of our collective faves too because she sources content. Much love to one of PR’s (not just Newser’s) biggest cheerleaders. (Oh, it doesn’t hurt that she follows each one of us in this thing either.)

2. Steve Rubel. You’ll dig his content, as one would expect: he’s the chief content strategist for Edelman. He provides several PR news sites (ours included) with great story ideas and great interviews. He is no stranger to the common flack. Steve thanks people for shout outs when he can, writes smartly on his own website, and doesn’t mind throwing out the hot sports opinions from time-to-time (Carolina for the Super Bowl, in case you were wondering).

3. Zane Aveton. As the curator at Zaneology, this chick rocks! She is a digital strategist for some “nice” names but you wouldn’t know it by the size of her head. (That’s a non-inflated ego reference. We’re not saying she is like a Fisher Price toy or anything. That would just be mean.) Zane personifies “social media”; any flack who can wear a Twitter handle around her neck and still rock a Batman cape has big props in our coffee-stained, withered book with a few post-its circa 1993.

4. Tom Becktold. When we made this list for PRNewser, Tom was on everyone’s list. (Sure, he’s fun, but mainly because we are still waiting for an autograph on this picture of him [on the far right] pictured on NBC friggin’ NEWS!) As the SVP for marketing for BusinessWire, you would think Tom would be self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, egocentric and a few other words we can pull out of a thesaurus to equate “a pain in the ass.” He’s quite the opposite. That’s Tom and we dig it!

5. Jeff Bullas. The guy and his website are as ubiquitous in flackdom and social media as, say, a Kardashian at an NBA game. Jeff’s earned awards for his craft because he has some of the best content on the Web about this industry’s digital evolution. It is insightful and very often quoted. For example, this post goes over the average PR webhead’s cranium because it is dense with information. This guy eats crap you have never heard of for breakfast. He’s worth the follow.

6. Sarah Evans. She is known as all that in social media land for one thing—her faves. She is a self-described “social media freak,” which means that if she rocked the Emo or Goth to brand said freakishness, we would have to be down with the heavy eyeliner because we are all fans. Sarah founded #Journchat (or @Journchat), renowned in the Twitterverse by hacks and flacks alike. She’s a thinker, and she does it out loud so everyone can learn from it.

7. Betty Lovell, APR. We know many flacks in many markets. And few, believe it or not, have a hold on their market like this woman. Betty is all about sharing content—hers and others. She has been in PR for (COUGH) years and by her command of many SM networks, you would think she’s fresh out of college. Many PR pros can hope to be as crafty as this young lady. (And why ‘Hello Kitty’? Ask her. She’s good for a story every now and again.)

8. Kevin Dugan. We are avid fans of Kevin’s snarky Bad Pitch Blog, which should be a regular destination for anyone in this profession (you know, along with this blog). When he writes, it’s like he is sitting in your cube practicing his fine-tuned pontifications about this thing we call PR. Well, that, or slapping you for some blockhead moves you made in dealing with a reporter. He does it for love of this profession and the giggles he obviously gets when tells about that love. Good times.

9. Senor PR. Whoever this former journo changeling is, doesn’t matter. #PRFail is his mission. When he stumbled upon the Twitter, he did so under the guise of anonymity to see how poor this industry is perceived internally and externally. Now, he seems to understand why PR types are burned at times from the media, as well as why the media has ample reason to carry the torch. He followed 100 “big firms” and none of them followed him back. Nice. No wonder he likes us better.

10. KDPaine. It’s in her bio. Katie Delahaye Paine truly is the queen of measurement. She probably led a march of burning status reports and spit on a flag that read ‘AVE‘ somewhere. When she isn’t discussing proper metrics, she loves the random tweet or pick-up conversation in real time. KD opines, writes and leads this industry to higher standards. She measures up. (Sorry, but look at that purse!)

11. Ian Schafer. Another fan favorite at PRNewser, he’s a founder of this smart thing and of this yummy, sportsy thing. Followers need to get on this guy’s bandwagon because of his ability to cause us to say “Crap. We should have thought of first.” That’s worth a follow alone.

12. Dorothy Crenshaw. As CEO, founder and creative director of her own NYC shop, Dorothy still has time to burn up Twitter with random thoughts, PR communiques and other industry reflections that are all on point. She’s one of those “still undiscovered” folk on Twitter. Seriously, just because a company hasn’t hollered at you for a keypoint address doesn’t mean you don’t have something worth saying. Here’s an example:

Like Jamie Foxx, we’ll blame it on the al-al-al-al-alcohol. It is New Years Eve, after all.

13. Jordan Cohen. Here’s a guy that works for this old gray lady. No, we don’t mean his grandmother in some home. We mean the Old Grey Lady known as The New York TimesHis Twitter bio says he is a curmudgeon, but he doesn’t look it, so he has that going for him. Sure, his PR gig is fun but he is doing for publishing what many printing papers wish they could do—keeping it relevant. PR for a newspaper is important work, and Jordan handles that business with a certain panache.

14. Heather Whaling. We know flacks who couldn’t pick this name out of a phone book, but say “PRTini” and light bulbs go off. Yup, Heather and Tini are one and the same. And now you have discovered Bruce Wayne’s heroic identity. Founder of Geben Communications and all-around purveyor of PR stuff, Heather is on countless lists because she’s as transparent as they should come in this industry. No jargon. No fluff. Stay awhile and you’ll see.

Trust us, there’s is no sane reason why this list of must-follows should stop at 14 other than the fact that it made for a good headline. There are so many more great people in this profession worthy of a follow that you may not have seen at a podium, dais or webinar. While the four of us at PRNewser would like to toot our own horns, we would much rather toot the horns of these 14 gurus, ninjas, mavens, experts, doyens…or whatever new fancy-pants term applies to those who seem to have it together in this industry.

Regardless, these are the 14 we recommend for a firm follow in ’14.

If there are any not on this list (and of course there are), be sure they fit the qualifications to “keep it real” and holler. The comments are open, and we’re already considering “Another 14 PR Twits to Follow in 2014.”

In the meantime, have a Happy New Year.

And don’t drink, text or do other untold things while driving, because it can all wait.

Publish date: December 31, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT