The folks over at Social Media Today had an interesting post up yesterday about some tweets posted by the folks at TSA (@TSABlogTeam) over the Thanksgiving holiday. The author felt the tweets in question (can be found at the original post linked above) were unprofessional given the current situation (you know what I’m talking about).
I can definitely see the authors point here, but I wonder. The vast majority of folks aren’t impacted by the new regulations. Most people aren’t on Twitter. Most people weren’t even traveling! So, really, how much damage could it have done? Like I said, I wonder.
The post, however, alludes to something I’ve spoken about before. Earlier this year, I gave a talk at the Immunization Action Coalition’s Social Media Summit. The presentation is here. One of the points I made during the presentation was about the voice and tone of social media accounts.
The TSA’s Twitter account is an official account, branded with the agency’s name. This is nice for situations where authority needs to be conveyed. But it’s difficult to be personable, which is what the tweets in question attempt to do. Having a personality account (say, @jgarrow) allows one to be personable, but it’s difficult to impossible to develop the authority conveyed by a more official account. If TSA had posted those tweets using another account, say @BloggerBobTSA, while reserving official, more sober tweets for the @TSABlogTeam account, this problem might have been avoided.
Lesson learned: consider who is speaking when conducting social media messaging. If you plan to be silly or to foster personal relationships with your followers, consider developing a personal account. To issue official statements, consider developing a second, branded account.