November 8, 2016

Is your Twitter account a liability?

Is your Twitter account a liability?

What does it say about a person if they can’t be trusted with their own Twitter account? (Current) US President Barack Obama was pretty clear this week when he found out that Trump campaign organisers had ‘confiscated’ their candidate’s login details.

“Over the weekend, his campaign took away his Twitter account,” Obama said. “Now, if your closest advisers don’t trust you to tweet then how can we trust him with the nuclear codes?”

Trump may be a special case (in more ways than one) – and his campaigners do not trust him to stay on message during scripted speeches, let alone his infamous late night tweet storms. I’m with Obama on this one: if you can’t be trusted not to insult and belittle people on Twitter (282 people according to the New York Times’ latest count), how can you be the most suitable candidate for the most powerful job in the world?

As businesses we can learn a lot from this. Something I hear a lot at social media training sessions is: ‘can we trust our people with social media accounts’? This is not just about junior staff, it is everyone in the business. Can our CEO be trusted to use Twitter? Will they make a mistake? What about our employees, surely they are just one drink away from doing something so terrible that we will have to deal with it?

Is social media the issue here? Obama seems to have coped (admirably) with the demands of social media. The fact that Trump can’t says more about him than it does about Twitter. If your business is having to discuss whether your people can be trusted with their own Twitter account (or even with access to yours) then perhaps you have the wrong people in your business?

Unlike Americans, who have to get out and vote to avoid having a Trump in the White House, businesses can (and should) invest in proper systems, training and expertise to ensure everyone involved is using social media appropriately and contributing to collective business objectives.

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