Do you want your boss seeing everything about your personal life? Or in other words: Have you separated your professional life and personal life in Twitter? My Twitter name is @StefanSSF, Stefan is obvious my name and SSF is my blog about studying successful 'StudySuccesful'. So my answer would be no, I haven't separated my personal from my professional life in Twitter.
What is Twitter
Twitter is a social media tool where you can answer the very simple question: 'What are you doing' and your answer will be shown to the world at your personal Twitter link (http://twitter.com/USERNAME). You can follow people who you find interesting and their updates will be shown in your 'timeline'. In that timeline you will see all the updates of all the people you are following. People who follow each other can send each other private 'direct messages' which will not be shown to the wide (web) world. You can also send 'mentions' which is an update with the name of somebody else in front of it. So if I want to tell David Pierce (who blogs about technology) that there is an interesting new app for the iPad, I'll send him something like: '@dpierce Hey buddy, seen the new iPad app http://link?'.
Thank you class, you will have now a basic understanding of Twitter.
What do you tweet?
When people are bitching about Twitter I like to give them a quick example. There are two kind of tweets. The 'I am going to eat a sandwich' and the 'Very interesting article on new ways to fight pollution: LINK'. Obvious, the first type is not very interesting. Maybe your real life friends would like to know that kind of stuff, but not everybody will be pleased. The second kind of tweet is what makes Twitter awesome. Because if I see somebody tweeting an interesting article, I will assume that he/she is sending out other interesting articles as well. So I will follow that person and interesting tweets will come up in my timeline.
Personal and professional
Twitter makes the thin line between personal life and professional (work) life even thinner. You are tweeting a lot and sometimes you are tweeting personal things like the sandwich tweet. But there are also times that you are tweeting interesting tweets, like the LINK-tweet.
Make a decision
Here is the thing, the first kind of tweet can be really personal. It is just about what you do, what is keeping you busy. For instance, if you don't like your job, you might tweet sometime: 'Another long day, when should I quit?'. Of course, this is not something you want to show to your boss. in other words tweets can get to personal to show to everybody.
There was a Dutch celebrity who decided to make a picture of herself, almost naked and tweet it. Probably forgot that her Twitter was public to everybody and the same night that picture was on television. Whoops.
You need to make a decision, how are you going to handle your Twitter? You can decide to just be honest, tweet anything you want, but you might need to think whether you are going to keep your tweets private or not. Cause if you tweet things that could get you in danger of firing, you probably should.
Another path you can choose is just don't tweet stupid stuff. Make Twitter something fun for you and your friends, but not too personal. Maybe Twitter is not the right place to share your feelings. It is the right place to share links and awesome stuff though, maybe you should keep at those tweets only.
Maybe separated accounts?
A way that is also possible and used by many is separated Twitter accounts. Have a separated Twitter for your work, where you can tweet links of your work and another Twitter for your personal stuff, where you tell your friends what you had for lunch today. With applications like Tweetdeck this is made really easy, because you can be on different account on the same time. You can even tweet the same tweets on your personal and professional account at the same time. Pretty neat, I can recommend you to check it out.
Where to link to?
Twitter gives you the possibility to add a link to your Twitter page. Where are you linking that page to? Another thing you need to think about. You can either link it to your (professional) work site or maybe even LinkedIn. Or you can link it to your personal blog, with your musings about life and your personal stuff on it. What are you going to do?
Putting a lock on your account
In my article about Facebook I told why I chose to lock everything on my Facebook, only friends can see my pictures and everything. I do have a link to my personal blog on it though. You can do this also with Twitter. You can have 'protected tweets'. Your tweets will only be visible to your followers, which you can accept yourself. Your bio is still visible to everybody though, including the link. This is something I would definitely recommend if you don't want to show your Tweets in public. Because your Twitter account will still pop up in your Google results (pretty high also probably), but there is nothing to see for those people who are looking you up! There is a link, which directs straight to your personal blog! Awesomeness.
Anyway, another post with no guideline. Sorry guys. You should think of this yourself. I will share with you how I handle Twitter:
- I have my tweets public. I decided to just not tweet stupid stuff. I won't get that personal that I don't want the world to see it. Maybe a picture sometimes of myself or people I am hanging out with, but there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe even me with a beer, but heck, I am a student, so I think I am allowed to!
- I have my personal and professional combined in Twitter. As I shared on top, I have my personal name and my professional blog in my Twitter name. I share links of my blog, as well as contests, but also as well as personal stuff, all through the same account. I believe that people are following me because of the person I am. I write all my articles myself (except the guest posts), so the articles I share are almost always from, well, me.
- But I link to my personal blog, which probably means I see my Twitter more as a personal thing than a professional thing. And I think this is true.
Twitter is a great medium, some people even say Twitter should win the Noble peace prize, ridiculous? Maybe not. The best thing about Twitter is the interaction and if you don't like for everybody to see that interaction, just lock it up. Think about it, what do you want to share and what don't you want to share? Do you have separated accounts for business and non-business? Let me know in the comments.