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Twaikus can hurt your personal brand.

You heard it here: Twitter is the best example of white noise out there.

It is, in essence speaking in haiku–and how much information does one get in a haiku? Not much.

Twitter was one of many social apps out there until it hit politics. Careful now, and understand the impact of that statement.

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Politics is filled with people that understand….politics, not technology. Add “media” to that mix, which is a magnifying glass for anything going on at the time, and you get:

Politician A + gets advice from his staff to be more “accessible” + has intern (who falls in 20-25 demographic) to do research on social apps + research yields bias to what intern likes to do in off-time =

you get politicians tweeting

(how can the critics not be all over this????) It’s all Anderson Cooper can talk about these days. That and some vain attempt at keeping em honest. You have seasoned jounralists reading live feeds off of a twitter account! For goodness sake, summarize the feedback, add some personal value and move on.

 

Experiment

I signed up for Twitter and am following 2 people:

  • Eddie Izzard: I’m a British European, I think like an American and I was born in an Arabic country.
  • 10 Downing Street: The official twitter channel for the Prime Minister’s Office based at 10 Downing Street.

Now, I see a digest that looks something like this:

Twittering is white noise.

Eddie Izzard is a comedian, one of the best around, so when I signed up to follow him, I expect that he will have some hits and misses. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to see what observations he has about this medium because no one can observe the ridiculous more aptly than he can.

Downing Street I expected to have somewhat more substance. Today’s was: Spring is in the air – take a look at the Number10 garden and its colourful array of flowers in our new gallery: http://tinyurl.com/db3soa 

Are you kidding?! Now, I have to confess, I don’t read these digests regularly, and this is the one I happened upon. I am not likely to come back until the whim hits me again…perhaps I’ll get a more relevant message, like: g20 updates available now… But the point is still valid. I had expectations on the kind of message I would see, they weren’t met, and I am left wondering if the Prime Minister is walking circles in his garden rather than summarizing g20 learnings.

My Point? And I do have one…

Is that when adopting a social medium: Twitter, Blogging, texting, telepathy: you have to take into account the state of mind your reader will be in so that you are not misunderstood or tossed off as uninformative.

Being informative takes on many forms. For instance, I don’t really care that Eddie Izzard is on stage right now, but his personal brand has set my expectations appropriately to expect a lot of  “noise” before I get that golden nugget that makes me laugh so hard and forward so many people, which will in turn 1) keep me listening to him 2) increase his popularity and 3)  contribute to building his loyal following.

Downing Street 10′s personal brand is already established. By picking up Tweeting, they are trying to “change” or modify their brand from being “stodgy” to being “current.”

Tweeting doesn’t make one current, it makes one loud. If you don’t have a message to say, or the message you put forth doesn’t jive with your brand, you are likely to damage your brand.

Does Downing 10 really want me to notice the flowers outside, or do they want me to urge my local politicians to urge the President to do something?

Conclusion:

You should choose the method that best fits your brand. If you have a lot to say, and your listeners are prepared to sift through all of that to find what keeps them coming back for more – great. If not, than use with caution. Patience is thin, time if precious and customers are  always torn between you and someone else.

What do you want to do for your customers (and they for you)?

About the Author: Christine Haskell

Christine is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft with several years experience in the .com industry. She recently started social venture labs, an idea incubator for those leading small mission-driven businesses or organizations looking to create relationships, share ideas and [...]

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