The right Twitter profile is better than having two

There’s been a debate running for a few days on the Fans of Mashable LinkedIn group about whether people should keep their personal and professional identities separate on Twitter or blend the two.

Unsurprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast answer, although I was interested by suggestions that it is important to keep work and personal profiles separate, in case professional contacts came across riskier tweets intended for friends and didn’t like what they read.

One poster said:

“Definitely suggest having 2 separate accounts. That way you can let rip and not be overcautious [sic]. The alternative is that you’d always have to be mindful of what you post and who reads it.”

I fully understand the importance some employers or clients place on not using social media in a way that reflects badly on the user, and them by extension. There are plenty of examples of people who have used it badly, just as there are those who have publicly said the wrong thing in an interview or at a work party only to regret it later.

But isn’t that the whole point, which is missed by the suggestion of having a personal profile that is completely separate from a more sensible, professional one?

Twitter, as with all social media, is very public and ‘leaky’. If you are going to ‘let rip’ on your personal profile, it’s perfectly possible that professional contacts will see this, just as anyone would. Separating your Twitter profiles seems less sensible than ‘being mindful’ of what you’re saying in the first place.

I have thought about this and have opted for one Twitter account, maybe because I am too lazy to set up another one after more than three years. I go by the rule that you shouldn’t make posts on social media that you would not be happy for an employer, client or other professional contact to read. If they follow me (and many do), they may also read the odd tweet about what I am doing with the kids, or sport, but that’s more engaging and human in my view than an exclusively corporate feed.

The debate underlines that there is no ‘one way’ to do this, and nor should there be.

But I think it’s more important to have the right Twitter profile than multiple ones.

3 thoughts on “The right Twitter profile is better than having two

  1. Three (and a job and a baby)? Impressive stuff Jenny! Seriously though, there are plenty of people who use mix personal and professional elements of their lives on social media and some politicians are especially good at it. But, as any debate like this shows, and as you’ve both demonstrated with your comments, there’s no ‘right way’ and I would be suspicious of any ‘expert’ who argues that there is.

  2. Interesting. I currently maintain three accounts. One work, one personal, and one slightly anonymised one linked to my mummy-blog. Annoying to have three and this does mean none of then really get the attention they should. But I think mixing baby talk and housing would just be too much of a clash to even begin to consider doing.

  3. I agree, if you wouldn’t ‘let rip’ in other forms of communication, even face to face, then why think that Twitter is any different? Someone once said to me on this topic when questioned in a presentation; ‘an idiot, is still an idiot with a twitter account’ nuff said.

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