"Doth Milady Tweet Too Much?" – Finding a "Work/Life/Tweet" Balance

IStock_000001708019XSmallI like to bust Doug Haslam of Topaz for his hyperactivity on Twitter (@DougH).  “How can a fella with almost 12,000 updates, #16 on the TweeterBoard Top 100, possibly find time to do justice to his clients?” 

Being the outrageously good-natured and justifiably confident man that he is, Doug laughs this off with quips such as, “Hold on… I’ll answer you after I finish clipping this latest hit I got for my client in U.S. News & World Report.”  Touche, Mr. Haslam! 

Clearly, Doug has found a “work/life/tweet balance” that works for him, his employer and his clients.  In the process, he’s absolutely augmented his personal brand in the Social Media realm, and that’s to everyone’s benefit.

Still, it’s a question that comes up: “How much tweeting (or other Social Media interaction) is ‘too much’ while on the clock?”

For me the answer comes down to prioritization and respect.  Your priority while on-the-job is to work through your client assignments in an efficient manner: quite simply, that’s what you’re paid to do. 

That does NOT mean “no tweeting til every box is checked-off” … If, in the course of those workaday duties, you can find time to throw off a few quips, questions, etc., go for it.  Just make sure your priorities are straight.  

No doubt it’s fun to tweet, scrabulize, and superpoke; it’s a good way to let off some quick steam.  And, strengthening your personal brand is great (and helpful to clients, in the long run), but, it simply cannot come at the expense of augmenting your client’s brand during the average day. 

On the “respect” side, I simply ask our in-house twitterati to be cognizant of the fact that many of their colleagues and clients are online, too.  They may not be active on Twitter, but often they have accounts; they’re “following” you. 

If your manager is waiting on a document from you before they can head home, or your client is anxious about the state of a pending editorial opportunity, they won’t be too pleased to see a spurt of carefree tweets flying through the twittersphere.  It shows a lack of awareness for a colleague’s priorities, thus, a lack of respect.  Ya need to find that fine line.  

Agree?  Disagree?  Do you struggle with the work/life/tweet balance?  I’m curious to hear your reactions!

Posted on: April 4, 2008 at 10:34 am By Todd Defren
20 Responses to “"Doth Milady Tweet Too Much?" – Finding a "Work/Life/Tweet" Balance”


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  • Todd Defren says:

    Thanks, all, for your comments and reactions. Thanks to you especially, Sandy, since (as I am sure you guessed) our friendly debate at the Emerson Forum was one of the inspirations for the post.

    I agree that it is hard to “find the line” … I am mostly a huge booster of Twitter, as any SHIFTer would tell you.

    I only ask that the tweeter keep in mind that their *entire* to-do list is their responsibility, and what they’ll be measured on at Performance Review time, not *just* their social media activity. Yes, being on Twitter and *participating* is part of the job, but, acting as a devoted member of an internal team is also important.

  • Sandy Kalik says:

    The funny thing about social media is that the boundaries that exist in real life need to be recreated on (computer) screen. When I think about what tweets or social media use is ok at work, I think first about whether or not it is actually work related–adding in contacts from an event to various social networks is ok, reaching out to a journalist via Facebook or Twitter is also ok. However, when it comes to blowing off steam or a game of scrabulous with a friend, that’s on my own time (i.e. my lunch break or at home).

    Ask yourself, where would the line be in a 1.0 form of communication? Would it be alright to be on the phone with your mom, boyfriend (/girlfriend) or best friend for an extended period of time while you’re at work? Probably not. But if you were on the phone shmoozing with a journalist, an analyst or some other influencer on behalf of a client, that’s more than alright–even if the topic of the conversation veers away from the client. And that’s where Twitter gets blurry–because everyone is out there listening, talking, etc.

    Balance is hard because boundaries aren’t always clear in 2.0, in work, in life or in social media.

  • Todd,
    Finding a work/life/social media balance is a problem for almost everyone I know (except for those rare people who still don’t have any accounts with social networking sites). I’ve just had a similar conversation with one of my professors at the University of Tampa. He was saying that with this semester getting close to its end, he had less and less time for his online social life. I find myself in the same situation trying to balance between my school work, internship and personal/online lives. Haven’t checked my Facebook and MySpace accounts in a while, but I try to update my blog and LinkedIn profile whenever I get a chance. I guess, it’s all the matter of prioritizing.

  • Doug Haslam says:

    Todd, thanks for the shoutout! You hit the nail on the head as far as making priorities (boss/client)– to add, I often use Twitter to actually help (and even communicate with) employers/colleagues and clients, not to mention members of the media and analyst communities. As for tweets on random topics, despite my volume (professional driver: do not attempt at home), many of the random topics have some sort of point– furthering discussions, networking, or, ok, blowing off a little steam, as I assure you I do in the office as well.

    As for the last but, being careful is paramount. Believe it or not, there are a number of Tweets I don’t send each day, judging them inappropriate or pointless (believe it or not). On the other hand, Twitter is a tremendous help in brevity, getting us to express a full thought and intent within 140 characters, including room for a link to info and proper attributions.

  • Scott Schablow says:

    I’ve found that by following the right people (and a few hundred others) I actually save time. Pre-Twitter I needed read more blogs on a daily basis to keep up. Since ‘it happens on Twitter first’ I can cut down on research time and still be on the cutting edge.

  • All depends on the day. For some reason I was pinged something like 20 times today (a lot for me). Most often, though, I might update just a couple times during the day.

    One trend I’m noticing is how much more I’m using Twitter for work instead of play. I don’t have to feel guilty then :-)

  • Jill says:

    I agree completely. While I am my own boss & manager, I often find that I’m making deals with myself. One more post and I’ll pitch that editor. Ironically, in my former life I inhabited a desk at a Watertown pr firm familiar to you (circa 2000) and had ZERO work/life balance at all even before throwing a tweet or FB post in there…

  • Mark Johnson says:

    What I can’t understand is how people think that a dozen tweets-a-day are even interesting to followers. I’ve un-followed a number of friends and important people because I just don’t want to see their links, updates, and @blabber. Not to mention the person I dropped for a detailed explanation of his medical problems. Bleck.

  • Brian Block says:

    I’m going to have to talk to my boss. The work is really cutting into my tweeting time.

  • Paul Dunay says:

    Totally agree Todd

    Its a delicate balance these days on the use of social media while on the clock and it keeps getting harder and harder to keep up if you aren’t grabbing a few precious moments to Tweet!

  • pprlisa says:

    Ah, the age old Twitter/work life balance discussion…Well, its one we’ve had a lot at PerkettPR – finding the right balance is a judgment call, and a tough one at that. Clients want you to be involved and to help them get involved, but also want you doing all of the other work that needs to be done. I find my balance mathematically though, # of Dough tweets on random topics divided by the number of clients I have who need me to do other work for them divided by the hours in the day. :)

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