Social media: it’s a fantastic tool to connect with family, friends and businesses. It can also be disastrous if you use it incorrectly.
Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter is often more public facing. Regular people like us can tweet to celebrities or to ask customer-service related questions (there’s nothing better than angry-tweeting Delta and demanding to know why your plane is 3 hours late.)
And now that Twitter itself doesn’t want to be any old “social network anymore,” it’s is being used by more professionals, news organizations and companies for networking and engaging in conversation about industries.
With the shelf life of a tweet being mere minutes, it’s easy to think your tweets (ground-breaking or not) will get lost in the shuffle – but nothing on the Internet is ever completely secure.
Here are 4 ways to use Twitter responsibly and safely, especially as a professional.
- Your handle is important.
It’s similar to creating an email – using a variation of your name is always a good way to go (@johndoe, or @jdoe.) If you’re not comfortable using your name, pick a hobby you enjoy for your handle (@mountainhiker123.) Just like an email username, nothing looks more unprofessional than something like @DrunkGalintheClub. We’ve all seen these sorts of usernames — don’t be that person. Not only does it represent you in a negative light, it misrepresents your company and your personal brand.
2. Consider making your account private.
If you’re nervous about the whole world having access to your deepest Twitter thoughts,consider locking your account. Protecting your tweets and your account allows you to choose who follows you, and thus gives you more control and privacy over the information you’re sharing. Keep in mind that making your account private does not hide you or your tweets completely from the public.
Don’t use your tweets as a megaphone.
3. Quit being political
We’re all guilty of it, especially in this heated election season. But using social media to voice a political opinion, particularly one that is aggressive or pointed, can often ostracize you and others. Don’t use your tweets as a megaphone. Like other controversial topics, your personal politics are usually best kept to yourself.
4. Know who you follow, and know your followers.
The people you follow and the ones that follow you are an insight into you. You may not be @DrunkGalintheClub, but if she follows you, it can look just as bad. This is where locking your account and controlling who follows you can come in handy.
The best advice I can give to stay professional on Twitter? If you’re wondering, even for a second, “Should I tweet that?”: the safe answer is no.
— SIS (@sis_us) October 13, 2016