More Than One Twitter Account?

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.

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    11 Comments

    1. Posted February 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Great post! I use two twitter accounts, one for personal/mom blog related stuff, one for my business. I intersperse a little personal with the business account and mention my business occasionally on the personal acct. Currently use Tweetdeck for one and Twirl or Tweetvisor for the other, but checking out your suggestions as well.
      p.s. The link to CoTweet needs to have an "s" removed!

    2. Paulette
      Posted February 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this post. I'm launching a design blog in a few weeks, and I've been thinking about setting up a 2d Twitter account with the blog name for all my design news but maintaining my current Twitter account for everything else. I feel more confident about this strategy after reading yr post.

    3. Posted February 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Great point – but isn't the idea behind twitter to show those duals sides? If someone's just pumping out business info, what distinguishes them from the CNN or RollingStone Twitter accounts? Those posts about ice cream personalize it and remind you there's a person at the other end (IMHO).

    4. Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mark! Thanks for the mention in your post (I'm @CrowInfoDesign). And great post! I think the conversation around multiple Twitter accounts is only going to increase in volume as more people begin using it. One common theme I see from the people opposed to multiple accounts is transparency. They think by using two accounts, you pose for the camera a bit. I am certainly more transparent in my personal account, but like you said, I assume that my professional account community doesn't care about my Friday night plans with the Phoenix twitterati, and I think that assumption is correct. I still bring my full personality to both accounts, just not the same level of details about my personal life.

    5. Posted February 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      It's funny, I had my own account before starting this job, and the work account already existed (though was almost never used), so the decision was kind of made for me. I just started using both, and the questions people started asking re. one vs. two accounts came later and just seemed moot by that point.

      We're a startup; we're pretty informal, and for me it's more about making myself useful and easy to find/contact rather than working on a personal brand.

      It's different for everyone, but in my case people do address work-related stuff to my personal account sometimes, and I'm fine with that. And some things from the work account I re-tweet from my own account because I know they might be relevant to my own sphere of followers.

      I don't think any account, even a business one, that, used well, is going to be 100% on topic and on message, as it were. Accounts have people behind them, and people are random and messy and interesting (and not "professional" 24 hours a day). I've certainly used my work account to talk to folks about things not directly related to AideRSS. They happened to tweet about something of mutual interest, so I responded. No one's ever complained, and I've learned some fantastic things that way.

    6. Posted February 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      You mentioned a couple methods for controlling multiple accounts (web services, multiple clients, etc.) I actually wrote a script recently for a group Twitter account that can be controlled by any of the contributors to a group blog. To simplify updating the group account, we can now just sent a direct message to control the group account. The same principle could be used to control an individual account with another individual account.

      The script (which is very simple) is here:
      http://devinjohnston.ca/blog/2009/02/09/group-twi

      Just needs to be run as a cron job as frequently as necessary.

    7. Posted February 24, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      I couldn't disagree more. If we are talking purely about personal branding I do not agree that you should manage multiple accounts. You are one person and your twitter account should reflect that. If you need to separate your topics into separate twitter accounts you are not being true to yourself and ultimately your collection of accounts will not accurately reflect you and the things important to you as well as one account can.

      So when does multiple accounts make sense? Take @microblink for example. You can say that this is my other account but truly Microblink is a separate brand from Rob Jensen LLC. And the account itself is monitored and tweeted from other people than just myself. In this situation it does make more sense to create an account to promote our stories and build a brand that can continue to live on even if I step down and move on to other projects.

      The problem with managing multiple account stems beyond being able to managing each well. The greater issue is transparency and reflecting who you are. If your passion is open source web development and family let that come through. Don't be afraid to lose a few followers because you are being you.

    8. Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      People like following me precisely because I mix work and play and everything in between. If people will only follow a certain person because of the work material, the personal life must be pretty boring. Or the way they write about it is boring. So, having multiple accounts is a tactic used to diffuse that deficiency. But if someone is 360-degree interesting, then microsharing allows one to really build on that, developing a holistic personal brand.

    9. Posted March 14, 2009 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I'm finding I've got to start separate accounts due to the fact that I have more than one business. I don't mind combining work and personal, but it's becoming a branding nightmare to tweet anything useful and cohesive about what is actually 4 different businesses. (I am a musician, a financial coach, a publishing coach, plus I teach people how to do workshops.)

      I assume I need different email addresses?

      • Mark Evans
        Posted March 14, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Yes, you need different e-mail addresses for each account. If you're using GMail, a trick is inserting a period within your address. E.g. katephillips@gmail.com is a different e-mail address than kat.ephillips@gmail.com. Even with the period, they would both go to the same email address.

        Mark

    10. Posted March 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Why stop at 2, I have 12, all active, all with specific duties

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