For the past several months I’ve been on Twitter as @Hoovers. That’s been an experiment in representing my company in microblog-land. As of Friday 6/13/2008, I’ll end the experiment and disentangle my identity from the corporate one. My friend Kathleen (Hoover’s Community Manager/Moderator and all-around good person) will take over tweeting as Hoover’s. I’ll resume tweeting as rsomers.
I’ve learned a lot during this experiment:
- Social media makes it easy to mix the personal and professional. I initially intended just to tweet business-related things (Hoover’s product enhancements, updates to the site, interesting blog posts, etc). I did…but also discussed James Jamerson, Central Texas tornado warnings, Twitter business plans, my family, sushi, Iron Man and other non-business things. I plugged my personal blog (this one). I plugged my local coffee shop (Blue Marble Java in Pflugerville, where I’m writing this). I don’t know where the personal ends and the professional begins. Maybe that’s the point
- If you tweet as a company you need to add a certain amound of the personal. ‘RichardAtDELL’ may be a more powerful Twitter identity than ‘DELL.’ In a social media sphere people like to know that they’re interacting with another person. I overcame that for my 259 Twitter homies, perhaps because I can’t avoid mixing the personal and the professional in the tone and topic of my tweets
- Online identity evolves. It’s worth thinking in terms of personal branding as we choose url’s, blog titles, Twitter ID’s, etc. A rational schema (where the url ties to the blog title ties to the Twitter ID) makes the best sense. But it will still change over time as our personal and professional goals change
- As that identity evolves we have a responsibility to the people we’ve been interacting with. Between now and Friday 6/13 I’ll DM every Twitter user I’ve had significant interaction with and let them know of the change
Thank you @antm and @roblifford for suggesting the Twitter experiment and grabbing the Hoovers ID for us to use. Thank you @jowyang and @chrisbrogan for the warm welcome and offers of help. @TWalk and @zackgonzales, we may need to talk F2F over the cube again. @vpearcy, thanks for helping me experience Return to Forever without having to endure being there. Thank you @tawnypress for the honest product/service feedback and friendship. I appreciate @smallbiztrends, @twittertutors and others participation in the Twitter Business Plan contest as much as I appreciate @cparmele’s helping get it noticed.
And, of course, all praise be to @TweetJeebus.