Saturday, December 28, 2013

Three Tips to Save Your Job and Increase Attention on Twitter in 2014

There is, of course, no single way to do Twitter right. People maintain Twitter profiles for a myriad of reasons, and that means it is tough to offer a set of "best practices" to fit everyones' goals. That said, there are a few things that you may be doing that could annoy followers or, worse yet, increase the risk of facing terrible professional ramifications as a result of your tweeting.

Here are three tips to have a more successful and safer time on Twitter in 2014:

  • Eliminate auto posting: Several brands (such as Bank of America) got in trouble for automating their Twitter accounts this past year. While your daily My-Followers-Are-Brighter-Than-Yours tweets are less egregious, they are nonetheless still annoying and useless--no one is clicking and no one cares. Worse yet, while daily, uninteresting auto-posts may seem harmless, they create clutter that can get you deleted off of lists (and one of the things we should all realize by now is that being included on lists is far more powerful than merely being followed.)

    And for the love of all that is holy, if you are auto-tweeting your horoscope, stop! Few care about horoscopes, and even fewer care what your (rather than their) horoscope is each day. If you are auto-tweeting a horoscope on an account tied to your job or employer, you are posting a giant, blinking Twitter billboard that you are self centered, do not know how to use Twitter and should not be followed.

  • Detach personal and employer accounts: This is a mistake we have seen time and again: People accidentally posting on their employers' social profile a tweet intended for a personal account. At best, a misdirected tweet is embarrassing to both you and your employer; at worst, it costs people jobs (and loses agencies' accounts).

    Chances are you already know that you should not manage your personal and your employers' accounts using the same social management application, but you may have convinced yourself you are smart enough to avoid those mistakes. That attitude is dangerous and wrong--mistakes happen all the time, and you do not want to be the next cautionary case study that earns headlines on Mashable. Use different social apps to maintain your personal accounts and professional accounts; heck, use different browsers, phones and computers to do so, if you can. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure!

  • Avoid outlandish humor:  If you want to be the next Sarah Silverman, quit your job, hone your comedic chops, spend years getting heckled on stage and starve while you strive for the impossible dream of becoming one of the very few comedians who can make a living out of it. But, if you care to remain employed, retain your benefits and move up the career ladder, then do not make the same mistake as Justine Sacco (or Pax DickinsonTaylor PalmisanoChristina HaramboureMatt Bowman or Miguel Torres).

    You should be smart enough to know that the First Amendment does not  protect your job from any idiotic thing you post and that the rules of propriety for a teen or comedian are different than for you, if you are a professional. There are three simple but important questions to ask yourself before posting a potentially offensive humorous tweet:

    • Would I be say this at the dinner table in front of my parents, spouse and kids?
    • Would I say this in a meeting in front of my boss and peers?
    • Would I say this on stage in front of a large audience?

    Remember that a tweet made on a public account is, in fact, a tweet made in front of parents, spouses, children, bosses, peers and a large audience. Do not let your next outrageous, edgy, hilarious tweet make you funniest person applying for unemployment.
Twitter is the most powerful broadcast medium ever invented. That makes it a great place to promote, educate, inform, engage, build reputation and network. It also makes Twitter the most dangerous communications tool ever invented. 

In 2014, hundreds of people will lose their jobs because of their Twitter activities. Focus on the needs of your followers rather than yourself and be mindful of the risks, and you have nothing to fear.

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