This article, "When Good CEOs Issue Bad Tweets" by Jessica Levco found on Ragan.com highlights some of the pitfalls of CEOs using Twitter, the micro-blogging service. Twitter allows executives from all industries to write small posts that can mix business and pleasure. When you follow tweets from a CEO, you may see what industry article they are reading at the moment or what they ate for breakfast. When that line is blurred, it can be easy to forget that tweets can be seen by anyone across the Internet. When a CEO decides to sign up for a Twitter account, the PR department should be on board to serve as an adviser and provide a brief overview of what should and should not be tweeted. Once a tweet is issued, it is released into cyberspace where anyone can view it.
Here are some tips from PR experts on what to avoid:
- Confidential information concerning finances, legal or product information. This information could be seen by competitors or prove to be a liability issue. Negative comments about employees, clientele, or competitors. It is better to focus on the positive of yourself and your company's achievements.
- Specific location-based Tweets may compromise safety.
- Be careful about sharing personal information that you would not like your clients or employees knowing.
- Avoid religion, politics, or other comments that may be controversial. In general, never use vulgar language or inappropriate references.
- Keep your company's brand in mind when using Twitter. Be sure to understand the way tweets may be perceived from a different point of view.
Your corporation’s public relations team will be very helpful in the decision to use Twitter. Be sure to use their knowledge and expertise for guidance and advice on how to best use the service for your company.
Great article, Amanda. I’ve seen companies and organizations make some serious mistakes when engaging the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter, and many of the other myriad social networks out there. Your advice is certainly useful. Authenticity is essential for anyone participating online, as is knowing when and where to draw the line of engagement. Everyone, not just CEOs, should adhere to this advice since whatever you type lives forever. No one wants to be the next Fed-Ex Twitter case study. For anyone that’s interested, I’ve written a brief tutorial outlining basic Twitter strategies on my blog: http://www.bulletproofblog.com/2008/10/31/the-tweet-sound-of-online-success/, or you can look me up on Twitter: @dallaslawrence.
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