I attended PodCamp Toronto on Saturday, including a session in which the presenter, Mathew Ingram, talked about how he uses his Twitter account for personal and business purposes.
For someone like Mathew, who’s using Twitter and his blog to build an online personal brand, combining personal and business within a single Twitter account works because it provides people with a good sense of your professional and personal interests.
For many people, however, combining your personal and professional lives can be confusing and, more important, dilute your professional message and reputation.
For example, if I’m going to follow a leading social media thinker on Twitter, I’m far more interested in his thoughts about companies and trends as opposed to whether he ate ice cream with his children, or mowed the lawn, or had an expresso at Starbucks. If he over-talks about his personal life, it takes away from his professional thoughts.
For many people in this situation, the solution is having multiple Twitter accounts – one for personal use that appeals to friends and family, and a second focused on professional activities. It’s not to suggest there can’t be professional posts within a personal account or personal posts within the professional account, but there should be a healthy separation within church and state.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in having multiple Twitter accounts is having the time to do them well, and being able to manage them efficiently.
In terms of time, writing a Twitter post doesn’t take that much time so having personal and professional accounts shouldn’t take up that much time. And if you use services such as CoTweets or Splitweet, it’s easy to manage more than one Twitter account – or you can use different Twitter clients (Thwirl, TweetDeck, etc.) for different accounts.
As more people use Twitter, I think the concept of having multiple Twitter accounts is going to become increasingly common so finding ways to manage your personal and professional world will be more important.
More: A big hat tip to Crow Info Design, whose blog post on multiple Twitter accounts was the inspiration for this post. Check out the bulletin points at the end of his post for some of the issues to be taken into account when you have multiple accounts.