Twitter Tips: How to Safely Blend the Personal and the Professional

Twitter can enhance your personal and professional lives, helping you connect more with friends and learn more from colleagues, customers and peers. But can you tweet to both crowds without getting in trouble or offending someone? Here are some good strategies to ensure a smart balance.

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Remember Personal Is Different Than Private

The dreaded "too much information" tweet can be avoided by understanding the difference between personal tweets and private information that shouldn't be published anywhere.

If you're fighting with a significant other, or you have just carried out a nitty-gritty task involving your children, then you want to exclude that information from a Twitter stream. This can also be avoided by emphasizing important events in your life instead of the trivial, says Dixson.

"As an example, you don't want to write that you're 'going to the gym,' but it might be nice to say, 'I just set a goal to run a marathon,'" she says.

If You're Worried, Make a Blanket Disclaimer

For many people who work at big scary companies, the decision to inject personal information into their Twitter stream can be especially agonizing, especially if your Tweets express opinions about business, politics and other hot-button issues.

As a result, experts say you can put a disclaimer in your Twitter profile, noting that the Twitter stream reflects your opinions, not your employer's. To be clear, you can still be up front that you work for that company.

Dixson provided this sample:

This is a personal Twitter feed. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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