Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Twitter = Speaking in Public
Last week, for a day or so, I broke one of my key rules for participating on blogs and social media sites:
Don't discuss politics or religion.
But in spending some time on Twitter last week, I was shocked at some of the political 'talk' I saw. I was stunned to see very intelligent people throwing around generalizations and insults as if they were candy. Others have seen the same thing, I'm encountering more and more people that say that they are either spending less time on Twitter now, or have stopped going there at all, now that we are in the height of the political season.
Still, the experience reminded me how much passion that people have invested in some topics. And it drives home the point that when you are participating on social sites, you are speaking in public. I'm amazed at how many smart people that REALLY get social media, forget this. Many of us are dealing with companies and teaching them about how 'Google never forgets', but we seem to be ignoring the very lessons we are trying to teach.
And it's not just political talk, I've been noticing people blurting out distasteful comments that I can't see them ever saying in public. Even companies are getting in on the act.
So I think we all need to step back and remember that when we get on Twitter, our personal brand comes with us.
BONUS: Beth Harte has a wonderful post on twitter and your branding. She raises many of the same points I do here, but does a better job with them.