Twitter: Smart Networking or Reputation Disaster?

I finally took the plunge last week and signed up for a Twitter account. I resisted for quite some time, not wanting to add yet another distraction to my day in addition to phone, IM, live website chat support, and email.

More and more of my blogging circle was jumping on board so I asked them… what’s the deal – is this helping your business or just another major distraction?

A few said they’d seen a noticeable increase in blog subscribers since they started Twittering. One said that Twitter was directly responsible for some new consulting gigs. Others mentioned that Twitter provided them with a way to connect with some A-listers in a way that was not readily available before.

That’s when I decided to give it a try. But then I had some other concerns that went beyond just time…

Keep in mind that goal of this post is not to bash Twitter – I think it’s an important tool. But I do wonder if it may have adverse side effects if used carelessly.

The Potential to Kill Your Reputation

The relaxed conversational atmosphere of Twitter certainly breaks down communication barriers. But I think there is a tendency to become too relaxed, which could be dangerous – especially if you’re interacting on Twitter as way to foster business relationships.

After hanging out on Twitter, I’ve formed some entirely new opinions of people. Conversations are different when they are off the cuff vs. in the format of a well-researched blog post or article. You can really see a person’s true colors on Twitter. That’s great if you’re feeling someone out that you’re thinking about doing business with. Are they overly reactionary or combative? Do they ‘talk’ before they think? Do they act with integrity even in a relaxed social situation?

Although tweets aren’t recorded online indefinitely like published web content, people do remember them. I was talking to an online blogging friend yesterday about a conversation that took place days prior between two individuals. We both remembered the conversational in detail. People are listening and they are remembering.

With that in mind, standing out from the crowd as someone that does offer solid advice, ideas, and help seems like a smart recipe for enhancing your reputation.

Might Insinuate That You Have Nothing Better to Do

Many times I find myself wondering… how do these people have the time for this? Don’t they have more important things to do? Busy and important people are inaccessible for a reason. It’s not that they are trying to ignore people; they just simply don’t have the time to communicate with everyone. If I write to a famous author or a busy CEO, I’d be surprised if they’d write back to me let alone chat with me on Twitter.

Some people that I assumed would be very busy running businesses are very active on Twitter… Maybe they just have much better time management skills than I do and can handle it all.

What if your clients were following you on Twitter. What if while I’m supposed to be dedicated to my client’s project, I’m constantly socializing with my peers throughout the day on Twitter? Even if you can interact in short bursts with Twitter, it might give the perception that you are not 100% dedicated and focused.

What Are Your Thoughts and Experiences with Twitter?

Without naming names, have you seen a different side of people after following them on Twitter? If so, is it positive or negative? How has Twitter impacted your business?


Great list, thanks a lot!

Great list, thanks a lot!


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