Like countless others, I have a Twitter account. Along with my Facebook page and LinkedIn account, I use it solely for business. So on my Twitter account, I post HR and business content, such as legal updates, events I’m attending, news items, business connections and so on. And I almost exclusively follow only other business-related accounts – HR and employment law organisations and publications, business associates, networking contacts etc. So why is it my Twitter stream is full of trite gubbins about X Factor, in-jokes between mates, and what people had for lunch?!
I’m fairly circumspect in the number of accounts I follow, keeping it to a manageable number (currently 77, which seems pretty large to me!) so that I don’t miss much. But I notice that some of my followers are also following hundreds, if not thousands, of other accounts. Suddenly I don’t feel quite so special anymore… *sniff* And I feel even less special when I realise that this means they probably don’t see many, if any, of my tweets, because they are a needle in a haystack of thousands of others (probably also about X Factor and lunch.) So does this mean my tweets are mostly a waste of cyberspace?
It’s poor nettiquette to follow someone just so that they will reciprocate and bump up your numbers, only to then ‘unfollow’ them and hope they don’t notice (although with more followers than sprinkles on a donut, chances are they probably won’t.) But is it acceptable to follow someone because you have met them in a business context and expect to get valuable information, ideas and insights from them, and then unfollow them because you instead get their (numerous) views on Louis Walsh’s latest pseudo-prodigy?
I have a separate Facebook account for personal stuff, so I can tell my friends what I’ve been up to at the weekend or whatever (although not what I had for lunch, because that is of no interest to anyone and would just make me sound unutterably dull), and also because business contacts don’t need to know what I’ve been up to at the weekend (neither does my mother, come to that). Plus, my friends probably don’t care about the latest changes in employment law. So how hard can it be for people to have separate Twitter accounts for their personal and business stuff?
Or maybe I’m missing the point entirely. Good networking is about making connections with people and maintaining a rapport with them – so is swapping views on reality TV shows and sharing your diet particulars a valid way of doing this? (If so it’s wasted on me, obviously.) Maybe I should be building my professional relationships by tweeting about my late night cheese on toast habit, or the latest developments on Coronation Street. But somehow I don’t think that’s going to build my professional credibility, or help anyone who is actually interested in HR and business issues…
So if you’re interested in HR, people management, training, employment law and the like, follow me @TaraDaynesHR . But if you just want to know what I had for lunch – actually I think that might make you a stalker :o)