Lessons Learned from a Temporary Twitter Account Suspension
Attending a recent 300 guest D.C. dinner party, I expected to see about twenty personal friends and another two dozen familiar faces who were media pundits and political figures. I didn’t plan to stay long; chat it up with friends and introduce myself to some of the celebs. So much for my plans.
I entered the room and felt like I already knew everybody… and oddly enough, I felt like they knew me. It was amazing! The people and faces from my social networks had come to life!
To “LibertyMatt” I asked about his coaching duties for his son’s soccer team. I talked to “MStevens912” about her new job and shared grad school stories with “Jason912”. These were people who I had never met and yet felt like they were old friends. Conversations flowed. We just picked up where we had last left them… on Twitter and Facebook!
Fast forward to last week. On Wednesday I sat down to my computer with my morning cup of coffee and discovered the nice folks at Twitter had decided to give me a timeout. My account had been temporarily suspended for reasons unknown. As I contemplated the possibility of being cut off from my friends and my conduit for news and information, I was forced to think how the tools of social media impact my life and my organization.
My timeout lasted 48 stressful hours, during which I identified three important lessons about my growing dependency on social media tools. Consider these lessons as you further integrate these same tools into your organization’s communications strategy.
1. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube have become an integral part of how I grow my brand, share ideas, and communicate with the world.
Without those tools, I feel completely isolated. With little or no cost, I can reach out to tens of thousands of potential customers and collaborate with hundreds of like-minded vendors and activists. Leveraging these tools is both powerful and cost effective marketing.
2. Do not take social networking sites and communities for granted.
You are at their mercy. Without warning they can unplug you and your organization from your community. Unlike paid services like your cable provider or wireless carrier, social networking sites are free. And what they giveth, they can also take away. Your problems will get solved on their time, not yours. Keep this in mind as you plan your mission critical communications efforts.
3. Don’t put all of your social media eggs in one basket.
I mention Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube because these are the tools I use. But these are not the only tools; they just happen to be new Big Three. Consider other tools and invest the time to develop a robust presence within those communities. A healthy diversification will prevent the whims of one social network from crippling your ability to communicate with the world.