Twitter Authenticity

by Heather on January 24, 2012

I had a conversation with a friend who works for a Fortune 500 company about Twitter authenticity. The company in question has been through a transition recently and a new CEO has come in. Part of the communication plan is to have the new CEO tweet. They think this will help with transparency and I would agree. However, the head of Communications and the VP over the Communications group think that the CEO should send them his tweets and then they will edit them and post them on Twitter.

My reaction was “What??? Are you serious???”. This completely defeats the purpose of Twitter in my opinion. If your goal is transparency, then having someone else do the tweeting is not a great idea. Even if most of the words are his, you never know how his message will be cleaned up.

Twitter is about relationships and while I know a CEO of a Fortune 500 company must be really busy, I can’t help but think that this is overall a really bad idea. I know for me personally, if I know someone has someone acting as a proxy, I unfollow them. I don’t want the edited, sanitized version. I want the authentic person. Two people come to mind when discussing this. The first one is Martha Stewart. She currently has over 2.4 million people following her on Twitter. And a woman who is known for everything being just so has a Twitter account full of misspellings and shortcuts and seems to be a real person. Martha Stewart is a big fan of Twitter and has said it’s ¬†better than Facebook. Her account is unsanitized and authentic, the way it should be. Another example is Mark Cuban. He has over 800,000 followers and all the tweets are his. He is unapologetic and completely authentic. He retweets people. He responds to them. He is a real person. I’m pretty sure that Martha Stewart and Mark Cuban are both as busy (if not more so) than this CEO. Somehow they manage to tweet without a bunch of cleaned up PR speak.

What do you think about this topic? Would you follow a CEO or a celebrity you know had other people tweeting for them? Does this affect transparency or authenticity? Tell me your thoughts.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ninja January 24, 2012 at 2:26 am

What exactly is this CEO going to tweet? Sounds like it’s going to be major boring sh-t if the tweets are going to be sanitized by the communications dept. Remind me to make sure I don’t follow him or his company. Jumping on the social media bandwagon just because it’s there has to be the most ridiculous reason I can imagine. What a waste of their time and money. (Please can your friend get me a job there? money for nothing…). On the other hand, I wonder if more to this story than your friend knows.

In any case, authenticity and transparency cannot be enforced whether it’s twitter or facebook or blogs or the company memo or the company press release.

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Heather January 24, 2012 at 2:30 am

Not sure what the CEO is going to tweet but I don’t think there is anything more to the story except that the director of communications and the VP are not bright when it comes to social media or they are just wrapped up in the old school marketing/PR realm and are afraid of it.

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