Back in June, I wrote about the use of a dedicated twitter account for system updates. Actually the post is much, much more than that — it’s good reading, I promise. Go check it out. I’ll wait.
See, I told you. So, yesterday, I finally gave up the extensionorgsys twitter bucket. Actually, I gave it up weeks and weeks ago, quietly setting its archive to be protected, while waiting on twitter to enable account deletes again, which finally appeared to be working when I checked again yesterday.
You might ask why? — which of course is a fabulous question..
I wrote up the core reason before:
…it’s not social. It’s broadcast. It’s not following its followers. It’s not interacting. It’s not a conversation.
Could it have been? Certainly. There are individuals ( and companies and organizations ) sticking a real human behind the “generic/faceless” twitter accounts — giving them a real human (though somewhat of an anthropomorphic) voice. With real interaction, real conversation. Without that, there really isn’t much of a point to using twitter for this.
But I already have a twitter account. And I don’t need another one. And @extensionorgsys was even starting to get support requests (that I wasn’t seeing because it was tied to a generic email address, not mine, and I can’t tie it to my mobile number, because I can only tie one account to my mobile number).
But, you might say — that shared account could let more than one person use it! That’s what many others do and with my co-worker Daniel also doing “extension.org systems work” — maybe this was a natural place and case for that.
Maybe so. But I was already being hypocritical about the social networking of having a non-interactive broadcast account — do I need to add hypocrisy about using shared accounts also? (Paranoid system admin say: shared account bad. security good. Practical system admin say: It’s Twitter account, who cares?)
And again, we both already have twitter accounts, and I guarantee when the time comes to post a systems event notice, we’ll have to scramble around to find the shared password, hope the other didn’t reset it, maybe even get confused about which account window is which.
Ah. But what about those that really want to keep up with “extension.org systems” events and don’t want to read about me cursing over wrapping up fra-gee-lee major awards?.
Three words. search changes everything.
Twitter bought summize. And search.twitter.com can — in real-time — (well, provided it’s working) — find tweets that contain #extensionorgsys. So now, I can, Daniel can, others can, post tweets relevant extensionorgsys — and you don’t have to follow me to learn the sordid details that I sometimes listen to John Denver.
So the search maintains the information, but also maintains the human, conversational, interactive voice that can directly respond and speak to the issues to which it’s tweeting about.
So what if a spammer uses the same code phrase/hashtag? Or gasp, someone not affiliated with extension.org systems? Well — you cross that bridge when you get to it. But it’s not much different than someone getting hold of the shared password for @extensionorgsys. In fact, it’s might be better — because the individual voices themselves bring the legitimacy to the table. When we are out there, interacting, you begin to know who and who isn’t “extension.org systems”. I’m more interested in that here. Too many “Eye-Tee” organizations put themselves behind generic email addresses support “storefronts” — for some very good reasons that you don’t want single points of failure — but it serves to dehumanize the process. It helps to know and interact with the real individuals that bring those services to you. Especially in our case where it’s only two people that are “systems” here.
The fundamental is this, the power of a brand — any brand — is its people. That is doubly true for the business I’m in. And anything we can do to express the brand through the unique, individual, human voices that make up that brand — the better. There is definitely a place for those faceless accounts that have a real human voice behind them interacting, carrying on conversation — but if they don’t interact and the working conditions make other kinds of interaction easier — then you empower the individuals that can provide the voice, and you use the power of search and aggregation to bring them together. And give up the buckit.
And in the end, that is likely way more powerful.