As one of the most popular forms of social media in today’s day and age, Twitter has rapidly become a staple in both personal life and the business world. Personal twitter accounts are everywhere, from your sister to your favorite comedian and pictures of the cutest animals. Then there’s the professional side of twitter. There are news channels, reporters, CEO’s, banks, eating establishments and more. There is truly a twitter account for everyone and everything. There has been a lot of backlash recently with people tweeting inappropriately while representing a company. However, this is the United States; doesn’t everyone have the freedom of speech? How can one be criticized for publishing their personal thoughts just like you and I do? So where do we draw the between personal accounts and professional accounts? I’ll tell you.
On personal twitter accounts, you can tweet whatever you want without getting permission first. This is the ultimate form of the freedom of speech. Personal twitter accounts are for you and the people you know to read and are not meant for the whole word to see, the rest of the world doesn’t really care what you have to say. Many people with personal twitter accounts will have their accounts marked “private”. This allows you, the tweeter, to decide who follows you and only those lucky people get to see your fabulous tweets. Personal twitter accounts are often seen as unnecessary but entertaining. They are more of a want than a need.
Professional twitter accounts are for companies and public figures. On these accounts, you must be very careful as to what you post. When representing a company, such as news reporters or CEO’s, your personal twitter account is no longer personal. Such people become known for their jobs and anything they tweet will reflect on the company. You can cause a lot of controversy in less than 140 characters. This is where the line gets blurry. For example, in May 2009 Welsh politician John Dixon tweeted “I didn't know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.” Nixon received a lot of criticism saying he offended members of Scientology. John Nixon was not able to freely express himself because he is a public figure. In this instance, I believe John Nixon has the right to post whatever he wants because he represents himself, not a company specifically. If he does not agree with Scientology that is his opinion.
Twitter is meant for you to state your thoughts, a quick little blurb of how you’re feeling right now. Whether it’s Paris Hilton, President Obama or your best friend, we are all entitled to our own opinions and can tweet whatever we want through our personal accounts. The only advice I have is be careful. The world is watching.
Check out the 100 most controversial tweets here: http://www.complex.com/tech/2010/11/the-100-most-controversial-tweets/