Many of us Twitter addicts will agree that using Twitter is lots of fun. You can share spontaneous pictures, interesting links, videos, random thoughts… all very quickly and by various different means (e.g. mobile apps, desktop apps, the official website, other Twitter use websites, among others). It is all so dreamlike, right?
Except, not always.
It can always be fun for personal use, but what about mixing it with your professional life? Twitter can be both very beneficial and a great prejudice if you don’t know how to manage its use. And I’m not talking about your B2C (business-customers) relationships. The topic today is the internal use of Twitter, how it affects you, your co-workers, your superiors, your employees, and the relationships between everybody involved.
Corporate usage of Twitter should not be treated lightly.
What should we avoid?
Rule #1 has to be: Do NOT forbid the use of Twitter.
I’ve seen this done in many places and, believe me, it just makes everything worse. People never actually get over the teenager tendency to desire whatever they are forbidden from having, and this is no exception. By forbidding the use of Twitter (or any other social network), the result will just be that you will not know about it. But you not knowing doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Rule #2: Don’t badmouth your co-workers, employees or employers
Needless to say, this damages internal relationships. Specially in the case of the employer, since it diminishes his/her leadership over the employees.
And even if you don’t actually care about this (which, by the way, why wouldn’t you?), there are other factors to consider. For example, are any of your clients currently following you on Twitter? Do you really want them to read about how you and your co-workers don’t get along?
Which takes us to the next rule.
Rule #3: Don’t badmouth your clients
I’m very much aware of how annoying clients can be. They can get so annoying that the need to vent some of that frustration becomes overwhelming, but you may need to think about it twice before using Twitter for that.
So, again, you should ask yourself: Are they currently following you?
And even if they are not, there are many companies that are currently monitoring the use of their company name on social networks. If you badmouth not the person, but the project (usually named after the company it’s for), you are most likely to get caught. It will cost you reputation and very awkward situations afterwards.
Rule #4: Promote a healthy use of social networks
This must be done setting an example, of course. If you promote the good use of Twitter by using it correctly yourself, you are one step closer to earning (or maintaining) the respect needed among the people in your office.
And what’s the main conclusion?
Respect. This may sound a little obvious, but it has to be pointed out as it is. By breaking any of the rules, you are being disrespectful to someone. And without respect, there can be no harmony anywhere, let alone an office environment.