This is going to be short. Its just a few words I wanted to add to @tacanderson’s blog post Think Before You Tweet: The Do Not Tweet List.
Specifically, I wanted to expand on the first item in “The Do Not Tweet List.”
- Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening.
- DM is not IM. It’s not a secure communication channel.
- Disclose conflicts of interest: Clients, Competitors, Partners.
- Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products.
- Don’t publicize private issues or jeopardize the company’s working relationships.
- Unless soliciting community feedback is part of your product development, don’t tweet about products under development.
- Don’t post about company financials before an earnings call. This can get you and your company in trouble with the SEC.
- If you have a gripe about a coworker or your boss talk to them about it. Tweeting about it is passive aggressive and makes you and the company look bad.
- Don’t spam your personal account with irrelevant work promotions. Promoting work is fine if it’s relevant to your followers.
- Don’t think having an anonymous account makes any of this okay.
Any thinking person can tell you that how you talk about your existing customers and clients is crucial to keeping them. However, many people forget that your existing customers aren’t the only ones listening/reading. No, indeed you have another kind of customer that I see forgotten time and time again: your FUTURE customer.
When I write this it may seem intuitively obvious, but my observations tell me that in fact it is not. I’ve seen some very smart, very successful, very business savvy people do so many thoughtless at best, stupid at worst, things on Twitter, FB and other public forums.
The long an short of it is that the internet is public. Information you share can be shared and viewed with our without your knowledge. If you flame a brand through any of these channels make sure that 1) its warranted and 2) that brand doesn’t have important implications within your networks 3) they are likely never going to be a prospective customer to you.
Now I know there are some folks out there who will read this and immediately get their backs up because the internet is supposed to be transparent, open, and uncensored. Alright. I hear you and I’m not disagreeing…necessarily. Rather I’m saying that part of the power of the internet is that nothing stays online. Many things may start online, but the best things inevitably make their way out into the rest of the world. I’m all for transparency, openness and a candid approach to internet life; however, understanding that what you say online can get you fired (or possibly worse never hired) in the real world is essential to making informed decisions about how you contact yourself while in front of your keyboard and monitor.