Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Those of us who are avid (rabid) Twitter Talkers have noticed a phenomenal increase in less personal and conversational and more SPAM-like Tweets, particularly in the last couple of weeks. I firmly believe that Twitter and other social media applications are self-regulating and the embedded ability across these platforms to unsubscribe, stop following, re-Tweet w/negative commentary and of course, publish blog posts should continue to support an open, educational, dynamic conversation. However, I recently Tweeted and am now blogging about my underlying desire to embrace some almost Emily Post era etiquette in my virtual social exchange as well as my in-person dialogue and presence. For those of you who are not of my generation or not still, even in their forties, monitored by their mothers, may give you a reference point. I offer you the following thoughts for Tweetiquette:

Lisa Channels Emily Post in a WEB 2.0 World-The First Six Tips

  1. Use the Direct Message feature in Twitter for one-to-one conversations: As many have noted, Tweets that are primarily @ replies and not generally informative really belong in personal email messages or as Direct Messages to your intended recipient. The rest of us feel left out and in the dark when your Tweet is something like: "@janedoe I'll see u there at five" or "Great idea. Looking 4ward to hearing more." As is true at a party, it is rude and exclusive to carry on private conversations or talk about inside jokes in front of other people.
  2. Assess Your Audience/Pause Before Posting: The ease and speed with which we can react and respond to virtual commentary and information also limits our natural "edit twice; post once" inclinations. I am as guilty as everyone else of firing off an email response prior to fully reading the thread or doing some basic research before opining. I would share several embarrassing "Reply All" anecdotes from early organizational email implementation days, but suffice it to say that as wonderful as our real-time conversation capabilities are, it is worth your personal and professional reputation to give yourself a time-out or to deliberate a little bit before your keystrokes blast your thoughts to the world.
  3. Make it Personal: I have never been one for auto-follow features or "thank-you's" and am still an advocate of personalizing, to the extent possible, email campaigns. In my Outlook inbox alone, I delete approximately 200 unsolicited, impersonalized SPAM messages per day, not so much because the senders are not Emily Post-certified as because I only have so much bandwidth to research, respond, and contemplate all of the messages. If I really believe that my message is important, I can take the ten extra seconds to address you in a more direct fashion that is indicative of my interest in you, your solutions, and your needs; not just assume that because it is coming from me or my profile, that you have an inherent interest in hearing what I have to say.
  4. Source Yourself: I was reading a Tweet and accompanying article about FTC guidelines around social media marketing (see @Build_a_Tribe) Not only are these thoughts critical for those of us who are WEB 2.0 conversationalists on behalf of our companies, but I think it offers some secondary lessons in netiquette transparency. Although we should continue to be cautious about specific contact information that is available to the world at large, I think it is very important to source ourselves when we are communicating in the SMN world. It is a courtesy to your reader to let them do a little bit of research about you so that they may determine their level of interest in your message AND so that it is received with the credibility it deserves.
  5. Old English Majors Still Check Spelling: I came into the business world during the Baby Bell breakup days, so am as acronym slap-happy as the next person. I love hash tags and shortening my URL's so that I can fit all my incredible thoughts in a 140 character space, but I still try to maintain a basic conscientiousness about spelling, grammar, and the clarity of my message. I hold up a professional colleague, Toby Bloomberg, as an excellent mentor and guide for clear messaging in a rapid-fire, limited bandwidth world. Toby (@tobydiva, is publishing a book using Twitter and represents a wonderful balance between southern, old-school, elegant charm and grace and WEB 2.0 facility. Her messages, Tweets and blog posts are clear, well-sourced, and still accessible to the internet-sensory overloaded.
  6. Remember the BIG PICTURE: It is far too easy for me to get so focused on an individual thread or idea that I lose sight of my primary objectives. In my professional role as a Director of Customer Conversation, I am responsible for educating and consulting with clients and prospects about solutions and innovation in customer relationship and reference management. I MUST overlay my WEB 2.0 activities with this in mind or I risk my reputation and my organization's reputation because I can so easily reply to so many different topics that come across my DSL connection. Although I have personal opinions, political views, and philosophies that are mine and I am a member of personal-interest communities as well as professional ones, I need to consider my posts, Tweets, and comments in the context of my entire profile, not just my individual presence.


As always, warmest regards,

1 comment:

  1. wow lisa - you totally made my day! thanks for your over the top kind words and esp. the mention of the all-tweet book.