As a member of the InGroup at SA, I talk a lot about using Twitter to boost one’s personal brand online. During these conversations I’m often asked: “Should I have one Twitter account for personal use and one for professional use?
My answer is always “No.” Here’s why I encourage everyone to live transparently in the social sphere:
- It’s less work. Maintaining an active and engaging Twitter handle isn’t easy. Maintaining two handles on top of everything else is virtually impossible to do well. You’re bound to let one of them slip at some point, and I can bet you anything it’s not the one where you’re cracking jokes with friends. Once you’ve divided your Twitter into “work” and “play,” you’re making it really tempting to spend more time playing. Why do that when you can easily make play part of work?
- Personality is important. You need to give people an idea of what it’s like to work with you. That means you don’t just talk business. You talk about what you did this weekend and the TV series show you just finished binge-watching on Netflix. Would you want to work with someone who just talked shop all the time? Me neither.
- Your network will be bigger. Follower counts and Klout scores aren’t the end-all-be-all of social media, but they may provide some serious cred. So why separate your street cred up from your professional cred? The bigger your audience is, the better your chances for engagement are. And don’t doubt the networking potential in your circle of family and friends.
- You’re not Batman. I mean, I wish I was, but I’m not. Neither are you. (Unless you are. If you are, please contact me. I love you.) There is no need to keep your mild-mannered alter ego separate from your true superhero self. Relationship George and Independent George should not be that different. If they are, that means you’re either deceiving your friends, co-workers, or yourself. If what you’re doing on a personal or professional basis is so outrageous, offensive or top-secret that any crossover would be disastrous, then that brings us to #5…
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO POST EVERYTHING. Seriously. Worried that people at work might not take you seriously if you Instagram yourself doing shots at your friend’s party? Don’t post that picture. Afraid not everyone will get your special brand of sarcasm? Don’t tweet that joke, save it for your friends who think you’re the next Louis C.K. Every time I write a tweet, I read it twice before I hit “send.” Once to check for spelling errors, and a second time to ask myself if I would be okay if my boss/significant other/grandma/client/or arch nemesis from high school saw it. If it doesn’t pass my gut-check, then I just delete it. Unlike Facebook or Google+, anyone can read your tweets. A screen cap is forever, and you never know who might throw you under the proverbial bus. Even the Library of Congress is cataloging every tweet -something to consider before you post that Twitter rant. Imagine if every time someone googled your name it was linked to that one time you tweeted something really awful. One tweet is all it takes.
So tweet carefully folks. A George divided against himself cannot stand.