The 11 commandments of corporate tweeting

Twitter and I will never be friends. I made an account a couple of years ago. I followed (a bunch of corporate Twitters and celebrities). I got followed (by friends and spambots). I even tweeted (4 times, at the least!). Then I got bored of it and forgot about my account. Last year I gave it another go, but alas: I never got convinced of Twitter’s appeal. I guess it’s not my cup of tea.

Maybe it’s just me not being able to express myself in 140 characters, or not feeling the urge to share what I had for dinner last night. But I can’t shake the feeling that 99% of tweets are unnecessary and don’t bring anything new to the table. A lot of its users only seem to tweet links to interesting blogposts (which I believe proves that blogging is a better platform to share relevant insights), or retweet other peoples tweets. 

I also have a problem with certain corporate Twitter-accounts who shall remain anonymous. A lot of them just ‘exist’ and never, or rarely, tweet. Others don’t really seem to know how to make proper use of its possibilities. It seems that most of these accounts only got created to jump on the social media bandwagon, without further thought. Bernard Warner, editorial director of Social Media Influence, shares the same sentiment. As and aid to executives pondering a Twitter strategy he formulated the following 11 commandments of corporate tweeting. I couldn’t agree more with them. 

 Should the company be tweeting? Only if it can live up to these 10 (um, now 11) Commandments:

  • We can articulate the company vision in 140 characters or less, minus PR puffery and cliché.
  • We are willing to give credit to cool, innovative, or thought-provoking ideas, even if coined by someone else.
  • We are willing to challenge a potentially destructive position even if our position generates criticism.
  • We are willing to listen to and engage with others, even if “others” = employees, customers, or activists.
  • We will not get carried away, never tweeting about a fresh “cuppa,” or worse, some banal corporate achievement.
  • We will dedicate time each week to reading what others have to say and promise to retweet (“RT”) the most clever, valuable, and even humorous.
  • We will never include in a press release, speech, or annual report our “Twitter followers” figure, no matter how tempting.
  • We actually have something meaningful to say.
  • If we don’t have something to say, we’ll find the person in the organization best suited for speaking/tweeting on behalf of the company.
  • If we cannot live up to these commandments we will reflect on whether corporate marketing is the right role for us.
  • We will use our Twitter channel not just to bump out cheery news, but to keep customers informed in the event of bad news (i.e., a product recall, a hostile take-over, a PR crisis), too.

    Looking at the comment-section of Warner’s post it seems that the link to these commandments already have been retweeted multiple times. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or just illustrates why I don’t really like Twitter.


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