The Twitter Wars, or, How Not to Get Noticed By Recruiters
Most days twitter is an enormous time suck a great way to share information, debate ideas, learn who the thought leaders are in a particular industry, and develop a professional reputation as an expert in your field. But some days the twilight zone kicks in. Today was one of those days. What started as a discussion on twitter bios for professional branding took a strange and interesting twist that left me laughing and shaking my head.
It started with a harmless suggestion:
That triggered a discussion on hashtag ownership:
Which escalated into a territorial pissing contest heated debate:
That led to threats:
And name calling:
And more threats:
And ultimately, the notice of recruiters:
There was more, of course (isn’t there always?) More threats, more name calling, more histrionics. You get the idea.
Never let it be said that twitter can’t be a great learning experience, especially if you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Here’s the take away lessons I see for people thinking of using twitter for professional branding:
- Know your facts. #hashtags can’t be trademarked (yet). Trademark laws that apply to domain names are not applicable to hashtags (yet). Trademarks that are registered in one country aren’t automatically protected in other countries (yet).
- Use your 140 characters carefully. A suggestion or request can all too easily look officious or pompous, and it’s hard to untweet a bad impression.
- Respect #hashtag etiquette. Just because they aren’t legally protected (yet), doesn’t mean there aren’t unwritten rules about their use. If you know, or are informed, that a #hashtag is being used to track a particular theme or discussion (think #HFChat, #HireFriday, #DriveThruHR, #FILLYOURHASHTAGINHERE), choose something else.
- Know when a public argument is worth it. In this case, the use of the misappropriated hashtag would have fizzled out in a matter of hours, as soon as the discussion was done. It’s rarely worthwhile engaging in an ugly debate, and it can reflect poorly on you when you do.
- Argue principles, not character. Ad hominem attacks may feel deeply satisfying, but they don’t win you any points in the debating club, or in the court of public opinion.
- Don’t engage in mudslinging with puppets unless you know what you are getting into. By this I mean anybody who has made it their twitter brand to be adversarial and irreverent. They will take the argument down to a street brawl in no time flat. Another way to put this: “Don’t wrestle with pigs, you’ll both get covered in mud and the pig will like it.”
- Remember that there is no such thing as a private argument in a public forum. You don’t know who is watching. If you wouldn’t say it in a job interview, think twice before you say it on twitter.
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Meet Karen Siwak
An award-winning Certified Résumé Strategist, Karen has crafted top calibre career transition packages for thousands of clients. Her specialty is helping people identify and articulate their unique brands and value propositions, and she is passionate about empowering clients with the tools, strategies and confidence to take control of their career search. Read more...
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