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March 11, 2011
Tweet Like an Editor, Not a Bozo
 
Here's a cautionary tale from Drew Voros at The Oakland Tribune on the advisability of thinking twice before you send your Twitter or Facebook post off to the masses. Is it accurate? Is it going to embarrass you? Being on social media with the sensibility of an editor, not an exhibitionist, is truly important.

"Direct communication is a great thing," Voros, The Tribune's business editor, writes, "but rarely is it effective coming from 'big egos with little ears' who feel they know best how to publicize, communicate and deal with the public." That's what's being demonstrated, he feels, with the eclipse of press agents. "Nowadays, the idea of hiring a professional for such things is like asking someone to dial your phone. It's unnecessary for the self-imploding types like actor Charlie Sheen, who is currently making Howard Beale's meltdown in the movie 'Network' look like a temper tantrum."

That's what can occur when prominent individuals choose to do their own tweeting. A keyboard can seem highly empowering, but watch out where it can take you. Witness the Courtney Love/Dawn Simorangkir lawsuit over a series of Love's Twitter postings about Simorangkir, Voros advises.

Businesses, by contrast, are likely to leave social media posting to their PR people. "You don't hear about a CEO ranting on Twitter about sales or a CFO questioning a company's earnings," Voros says. "That would be great copy for the business section, but the corporate world has more common sense than self-inflated media idols."

We wouldn't exactly say common sense, but caution born of regulatory and marketplace experience. Whatever, tweet like you'll be in headlines. Don't shun it, just be sensible. Careful's another word for it – acting with an editor's sensibility. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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