Went to a really interesting discussion on Tuesday, hosted by SLA Europe, on “Tweeting While You Work”. I know others are blogging this – there should be something on the SLA Europe blog about it soon – plus I was too busy on camera duty to take any notes, so I won’t go into masses of detail here. I just wanted to raise what stuck with me as one of the key points of the evening: separating your personal and work personas on Twitter. All three of the panelists had multiple Twitter accounts depending on what they used them for (I think one panelist said she had 5 accounts!), and all placed a great deal of emphasis on keeping their work and personal lives separate online. Now, I do consider my Twitter account to be a professional tool, but I regularly tweet about non-work related stuff. I don’t think I give out too much personal information on my Twitter account (at least, I hope it’s never TMI – you guys’d tell me, right??) but you can get a pretty good idea of who I am and what my interests are from keeping an eye on my Twitter account, and that is not limited to stuff that appears on my CV.
I think it’d be different if I were tweeting on behalf of my employer. I think if you’re the person in charge of your institution’s Twitter account, you do need to think a bit more about what you’re tweeting – there’s nothing wrong with letting some of your personality come across in your Tweets (I would argue that’s a good thing, giving your organisation a human face and all!) but I think you’d probably have to be more careful to be impartial.
Anyway, back to personal accounts. I don’t think I’d be too worried if my employer or a prospective employer saw my Twitter stream – but should I be? The discussion on Tuesday just got me wondering if I’ve got the balance wrong here. If you’re just tweeting as yourself, but tweet about work-related stuff with people working in the same industry, and are open about who you are and where you work, is it worth setting up a separate account?
I’d be interested to hear how other people deal with this. Anyone maintain separate work/personal accounts? Why/why not?