the Little Birds on Jaybird Street Love to Hear the Lawyers Go Tweet-Tweet-Tweet!
Elizabeth P. Kuhn, Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP
Tweet. Re-tweet. Though it sounds like a secret “tween”
language, Twitter has quickly become as powerful for business development
as it is for social networking. Subject line: “What are you
doing?” Answers (tweets) must be less than 140 characters.
Tweets can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web.
With 6 million mini-bloggers on Twitter, it seems as though everyone
from members of Congress to celebrities to someone in your office
is on Twitter or following someone on Twitter.
to recent Nielsen estimates, from February 2008 to February 2009,
Twitter’s growth rate was 1,382%, leaps and bounds ahead of
Facebook’s 228% growth. What’s even more interesting
is that Twitter’s biggest age demographic is not the college
crowd, but the 35-49 age group. For this demographic, Twitter is
likely used as much for business and networking as it is for making
weekend plans. Twitter allows you to post the latest news in your
field or a link to an article that clients, customers or others
in your field or industry may find interesting, with minimal effort
and without spending valuable marketing dollars.
whether you are using Twitter for business or pleasure, it is equally
important to keep in mind that what your tweets are not private.
Confidential information could pop up for the world to see the next
time your name is googled. A business or personal dispute intended
to be private can become the next hot online story. Consider these
facts: a PR consultant tweeted: “Reporter to me “When
the media calls you, you jump, OK!?” Why, when you called
me and I’m not selling? Newspapers will get what they deserve”.
This prompted the reporter to respond, and it eventually turned
into a curse-laden Twitter fight. The dispute then became a story,
“National Post reporter has total Twitter meltdown”.
The reporter removed the tweets from his page, but by then, the
damage was done. The posts had been re-tweeted and posted elsewhere.
the ramifications of letting the world read your rant about how
ridiculous your boss is. In researching this article, I came across
numerous articles on the topic of “what I wish I had never
said on Twitter”. For example:
are the odds that your boss is in the 35-49 age group, Twitter’s
largest demographic? And what are the odds that your boss is a Twitter-er?
We’d rather not find out.
test for what you say on Twitter or on any social networking site
is: how would you feel if others saw it? Darren Rowse, in “Twitter
is a Stage: Be Careful What You Say”, pondered if a situation
would have been handled differently had it not been on Twitter:
Would they have had that conversation if they were face to face
with one another?
they have had it in the same way if I’d been there in the
room with them?
they have had it on a stage in front of 800+ people (they collectively
have 859 followers) with one of them being me?
they have had it on the same stage if the conversation was being
videos and could be accessed by anyone at any time in the future?
consider the ramifications if information is posted on Twitter that
is intended to eventually become public … just not yet. In
Virginia, a party chairman tweeted that a member of the State Senate
was about to switch parties. The opposing party also picked up on
this tweet and stopped the switch. A comparative in the business
world is product release that could be preempted by a tweet. Putting
this information on Twitter is essentially the same as posting it
on a website. You can never be sure who will find it, or when.
when you are following someone’s tweets, consider confirming
whether the person you’re following is the person you intend.
Indeed, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann claimed that someone created
a faux Twitter account in his name and gave Twitter the honor of
being his “Worst Person in the World”.
sum, Twitter is quickly becoming a valuable tool in the business
world. Just be sure to use it with caution, and think before you