Good rules for using Twitter

by Amy Sample Ward on September 29, 2008

Is your organization using Twitter?  Are members of your staff using Twitter to representat your organization?  The wave of companies and nonprofits joining the growing Twitter community is increasing rapidly.  That doesn’t mean every group signing on has a good set of rules though…

Jeff Trexler asked if nonprofit staff using Twitter, Facebook and other social media during the election are doing so responsibly.  On the uncivilsociety blog, Jeff writes:

One effect of online social networking technology is that it intensifies the environment that Marshall McLuhan called “all-at-onceness.” Old divisions fall away–near and far, high and low, word vs. picture–in favor of composition.

Part of this integrative process is the fusion of the personal and professional. Topics that were once taboo in polite conversation–money, religion, politics–are now a salient feature of the connected self.

In most respects I have no problem with this. I see myself primarily as a Watcher when it comes to organizational technology–I’m interested in seeing what happens but have little to no personal stake in any particular tool.

But there’s something going on that’s gotta stop.

Namely, political campaigning in social networking accounts connected to 501(c)(3) organizations.  Read more…

Jeremy Pepper, a friend and PR-Social Media guru, coins a new term with Twitteriocy, claiming too many companies joining Twitter are doing so irresponsibly.  He suggests six rules for organizations adopting Twitter (and really, these rules can be expanded to work for most social media tools):

1. Don’t have your PR firm set up and be your Twitter account.
2. Don’t follow everyone willy nilly.
3. Get Tweetdeck.
4. Be engaged. Be personable. Be responsive.
5. Be a person.
6. Twitter is not for everyone.

You can read more of Jeremy’s post as well as explanations to all of these points on the POP! PR Jots blog.

What concerns has your organization had with using social media?  What policies has your organization adopted that really work for helping staff use social media tools responsibly?

  • http://pop-pr.blogspot.com Jeremy Pepper

    Thanks for the shout out. It’s an interesting world, and well, there are bigger things today (well, today today) than just Twitter.

    But, it still is going to be a part of communications for people, and how are they going to interact? That’s the key to me.

    Okay, off to lunch!

  • http://www.universalgiving.org/ Sarah Johnston

    Thanks for the heads-up on Jeff Trexler’s post. It makes for sobering reading. As a PR & Marketing volunteer for a non-profit, it’s made me aware that catastrophic mistakes can be made by well-meaning if somewhat ignorant people and brings it home that adopting a social media strategy isn’t without significant risks.

  • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

    @Jeremy – Thanks! I think you bring up a good point that whether a specific tool is the biggest issue going on in your organization right now or not, people are still using it and you should be sure they are using it wisely.

    @Sarah – Thanks, Sarah! I think you are exactly right. What kind of nonprofit do you volunteer with? Do they have many people using social media personally or for the organization? What do you think will be the hardest part of adopting a social media policy for the organization?

    Thanks again for sharing!

  • http://speakunited.org Meghan

    Thanks for the hint about Tweetdeck. Very cool.

  • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

    Thanks, Meghan – glad to help!

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