Twitter and blogs are playing an ever bigger role in communication within the industry. 2011 saw some of the biggest events in the industry played out on Twitter and blogs such as this one. Events like the Veka buyout of Bowater made the higher echelons of our industry sit up and take note…finally realizing that Twitter and the rest of social media is now here to stay in our little world, and are going to have to adapt to it, rather than social media adapt to them. 

Debates on the Green Deal and the DGCOS were also played out online. Many people were able to get involved in debates, getting their points across when previously they wouldn’t have been able to when the internet wasn’t such a powerful and useful tool.

So what is in store for 2012? Personally, I think Twitter will have a massive impact. The glazing community on Twitter is growing bigger every day, increasing the connections in the industry up and down the country. Debates are moving from forums and blogs into the world of Twitter. Probably because it’s a more real-time platform, where reactions and replies are far quicker to gauge and respond to.

What about blogs then? Blogs will still have a massive part to play in our industry. Blogs are ideal for breaking a story, something which is very hard to do on Twitter where your 140 characters will restrict you. Blogs will still be the main platform for the larger debates and conversations.

I do have one tip for the heads of companies in our industry. Blogs and tweets are here to stay in our industry now, so your attitude to them also needs to change. Most of you tend to take an aggressive and defensive view to them, probably because you’re all very worried information, right or wrong, being written about your company. Your blanket policy of threatening legal action to force bloggers to take information down will at some point fail, as one day we’ll just ignore you and carry on publishing. The best way to respond would be to engage bloggers and tweeters, enter the level playing field and join to conversation. This is the right place to put anything right that has previously been said wrong. Forcing someone to take down a post makes you look iron fisted and totally out of touch with modern thinking. Don’t lose your credibility by throwing your toys out of the pram.

As always, you’ll see me on the online world during the coming year, I hope to see you all there!