People often ask me–well, ask me enough that I should remark on it–about my Twitter policy. More specifically, I’ve been asked on occasion what my boss or my clients think about what I say on Twitter. And I get surprised looks when I say I do NOT have a Twitter policy.
Maybe that’s not entirely true, because I do have an informal “philosophy” (for lack of a better word).
Firstly, my Twitter profile is completely personal. That is to say: It is a Mike Purdy account, not an official work account. Like this website, I say things that may not be the policy of my employer. Of course, I rarely say anything very controversial, and I make only the occasional penis-joke. Still, I never think of my Twitter profile as a representation of Morris Creative Group‘s stance on matters. Whenever I do Tweet something, I never really consider if it fits into MCG’s policies. I can only assume that other people get this. That being said, there are lines I would never cross.
In my job I deal directly with clients. I meet them face-to-face at meetings. I speak with them on the phone. I exchange emails with them. I sometimes have bad days. I sometimes have good days. I sometimes get really excited about projects. I sometimes have frustrations. However, I have never?and will never?talk about my interactions with clients on Twitter.
That much is obvious and rather innocuous. But to me here’s the important part: The fact that I don’t talk about clients on Twitter (or Facebook, or this website) has absolutely nothing to do with keeping in “good standing” with my employer or my clients. It’s because the interactions I have with clients are between me and my clients. They are not between me, my clients and my Twitter followers.
I’m actually surprised by how many people I know (and follow) do not have the same policy. This goes for professions outside of graphic design as well.
To take it out of the context of being purely about me and my clients, let me give this example: I recently went on a date with my wife to an Italian restaurant. The dish that I was served was beautiful. The sauce glistening, the chicken browned just right and a glass of red wine to balance the frame. I have friends who take pictures of their food with their camera phones and upload the photos to Twitter or Facebook.
I don’t take photos of my food and share them, and here’s why: I’m on a date with my wife. This is a moment between me and my wife. Sorry Twitter followers, but you are not invited on my date. You don’t get to see my food. You don’t get to know what song is playing in the background. You don’t get to know what a great time we had. You’re not invited.
The same goes for my relationships with clients. The conversations and interactions I have with them are between me and my client. My Twitter followers do not get to hear about any frustrations or any of the jokes. Sometimes that’s a shame, because I have some funny clients. And I’ve heard some pretty funny things I’d like to share. But that would be a betrayal. It would be a breaking of what I would call “Designer/Client” privileges.
And that is as close as I get to having a Twitter policy.