On my Soapbox, I have been somewhat negative (and somewhat vitriolic) on blind group twitter accounts. My argument has been that no-one talks to brands; humans tend to and would prefer to connect with rather human. There is a perspective I missed: where organisations want people to represent them, and the individuals see themselves are distinctly separate from the organisation.
My particular job is unique; not all organisations invest in weird people who name themselves a Professional Geek and describe themselves as Iconoclastic and Mercurial. As a daily part of my job, Â I becone a lightening rod in a small community for a large and historically faceless brand. At one end of the daily continuum there is kudos/whipping for everything that brand does; and the other I attempt to be whatever “me” is at this moment.
This is somewhat OK for me, but sometimes risky for the brand when I fly off the handle. As as wise man at Microsoft counselled me earlier this week, we are all human. Social media will mirror this humanity. Whilst fraught with misinterpreation, it is better than bland corporate-speak, any day.
Living the organisation you work for is a legacy of my on-farm upbringing. You live in the work environment. There is no escaping large or small jobs. That, or I have a form Institutional Stockholm Syndrome. Ultimately, I am doing what I am paid to do.
So how do individuals represent the organisation, service or product they work for when there are multiple individuals in the team where the individuals see themselves distinct from the organisation? There are valid reasons why a solution needs to be sought.
Lower latency conversational mediums such as twitter, there is no time to review a tweet by a group before tweeting on behalf of the said group. By the time the group has agreed, the conversation has moved on. l’esprit de l’escalier en twitter.
EnterÂ The Multiple User Twitter Conundrum. I’ve seen a recent innovation on twitter which I support. It is a good compromise between my idealism, and the hard-nose marketing oriented “brand is everything” divide.
Let’s review the Microsoft Bing teamâ€™s Twitter Profile page. It shows the five people who twitter on that account/address, with a name and caret (^xx) underneath the pictures of the humans. xx represent the initials of each individual. Tweets such as “SteveB at D (video incl. Bing at AllThingsD) http://twurl.nl/zorfia ^betsy” indicates Betsy, or ^BA tweeted this nugget. I now can identify a human behind that tweet, that conversation from the group twitter account.Â This caret-xx only takes three precious characters out of 140.
As a further step to my idealistic people conversational mode of social media, it would be cooll if each individual should put their personal twitter id on this profile page. Or email address: ideally some mechanism to double check the identity of the person to stop twitter spam-bot miscreants.
Maybe in the future all we will just have twitter ids. They will become more valuable than ego URLs.
But then again, I am possible stepping back up to that very small platform of a soapbox.