Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that lets people broadcast short 140-character text messages (called “tweets”) to the Twitter site. Twitter allows you to network with people and stay up to date with the latest news in your professional field.
Twitter is also an excellent online reputation management tool because search engines like Google rank it very high in their search results.
Your Twitter Username
Twitter limits your username to 15 characters. With Twitter, it is actually better to have a shorter username because of the nature of the 140-character limit of the messages. As with all of the other recommendations I’ve made, choose something professional for your username.
It is okay to choose something different than your full name as your username because Twitter gives you the ability to input your full name into your profile (be consistent across your online profiles). Google ties together and indexes your Twitter fullname/username combination. For an example of what I mean, try searching separately on Google for my full name “Kathleen Bobrowski” and for my Twitter username “kocobob.”
Add your portrait photo and short biography (160 characters). You can also add a link to another online profile here (I suggest adding your personal website, blog, or LinkedIn account).
While it may seem that everyone else is using Twitter for fun, posting tidbits about their lives and poking fun at the latest trends, don’t do it. It isn’t going to enhance your online reputation. Instead, search Twitter for topics that relate to your professional interests and follow people who talk about those topics, and tweet about those topics yourself.
Don’t Blindly Follow Back
If you stick to your professional focus and offer quality content, people will follow you. You don’t have to blindly follow them back. There are a lot of Twitter spammers out there. Carefully read someone’s bio and tweets before considering whether to follow them back. If someone doesn’t enhance your reputation, don’t follow them back.
Twitter and Security
Twitter recently announced that it added a user setting that lets you always use HTTPS when accessing Twitter. Set it up now for your account.
Everyone is Watching You
If you use the public (default) setting on Twitter, your tweets can be (1) read by anyone who visits your page, (2) they will appear in search engine results, and (3) they will be archived by the Library of Congress.
Even if you “protect your tweets” and only allow certain followers to view your tweets, that doesn’t protect your account. In reality, your tweets can be retweeted by any of your followers and broadcast to the public, tied to your name, picked up by the search engines, and archived by the Library of Congress.
- Build Your Own Website
- Write a Blog
- Join/Manage Facebook
- Join LinkedIn
- Join Twitter
- Join Other Sites
- Comment Online
- Share Your Work
- Create Profile Pages
- Link Sites Together
- Helpful Tools
How to Twitter Guides
- How to Use Twitter
- Twitter 101
- From Here to Tweeternity: A Practical Guide to Getting Started on Twitter
- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter Hashtags
- How to Create Twitter Lists
- How to Create Custom Twitter Backgrounds
Think Before You Post Online
Think before you post – in fact, it is a good idea to write out what you want to post in a different software program first so you can read and re-read it before you post it. There is no hurry to comment; take time to think before you hit the send button. You’ll never regret it.
A good test for judging whether to post something online is the Rotary Club’s Four-Way test:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The reality of our more open, networked world is that we all have to be more careful of what we say online. What you post on the Internet is as permanent as a tattoo, and it is often as hard to get rid of.