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can a company force you to use a personal twitter account for work?

(21 Posts)
GrendelsMum Tue 02-Jul-13 11:07:00

Yes, Snazzy is right.

FWIW, I tweet for work and personally. Two separate accounts, two totally separate groups of followers, two totally separate topics.

Twitter was new to my line managers when it was introduced, and we have had a couple of concerns from above about what's professional and appropriate, but in general it works absolutely fine.

tiredaftertwo Mon 01-Jul-13 21:14:49

Snazzy is right. Separate the two and go along with it for now. It might be better thought through than it appears (I think it may depend on his field - some of the people I follow tweet very engagingly on behalf of their employers but it is clearly stuff they are genuinely interested in too) in which case good and he will have learned a new skill. Or it will fizzle out and no harm done.

It is very, very important to understand that your employer can and probably will monitor anything you put into the public domain, if your name is associated publicly with that organisation. That will include senior managers in loads of places, as well as GPs, teachers, journalists, etc etc.


travailtotravel Mon 01-Jul-13 20:36:36

No, not effective as Klout will only really measure one accounts activity not lots of "seed" accounts.

I do hope they've got a very clear policy about what is appropriate and inappropriate too!

Snazzywaitingforsummer Mon 01-Jul-13 20:30:10

OK, this doesn't sound like it will be at all effective, but in the meantime he needs to play along at least cost to himself. So first off, he should set up a second 'personal' Twitter account. As Twitter asks for a unique email address, but this isn't hard to sort out - he will just either need to use another one of his email accounts for this or (my recommendation) set up a new free webmail account, or a sub-account from one of his current ones (you can do this easily with e.g. Gmail or Yahoo - google for instructions).

Then tell work pretty much what tiredaftertwo said above - that the current set of followers won't work and he will start afresh with a new personal account that he can build up specifically. For added protection, I would suggest he locks his current Twitter account just for a while and he can tell work that from now on that one will be strictly friends and family only. He can unlock it again in a bit after the fuss dies down.

As for tweeting outside work hours to meet a quota, you can use other tools to 'schedule' tweets so they go out at set times, so I would do that - Hootsuite is one of these but there are others. That way he can use some of his working time to do it when not in meeting etc, but not have it intrude into personal time.

I really think that going along with it for a few weeks will be the best strategy as it will quickly fall on its face. It sounds very contrived and false and such efforts don't tend to be a massive success on social media.

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 20:19:58

Klout is a thing that looks at all of the public info on your Twitter - it looks at what you have tweeted, who has tweeted to you, who you follow and whoo follows you. All totally public.

It's a pretty crude tool and frankly I dont believe that his work have thought this through

crabbyoldbat Mon 01-Jul-13 18:17:52

Yes, they can monitor his personal twitter account (not 'use' it) - anyone can, as all tweets are public.

But they can't insist that he uses it (assuming its attached to a personal, not work, email and isn't used in working hours) for work purposes. Just because they want staff to advertise to their friends, doesn't mean they have to - in fact, I think its intruding into someone's personal life and totally inappropriate, as well as probably not enforceable as a work 'rule'.

New twitter for work stuff, and only use that one in working hours is the way to go. Don't use personal twitter in working hours.

PrincessScrumpy Mon 01-Jul-13 18:16:27

They aren't logging into the account but his tweeting is being logged by klout (which I don't quite understand)

flowery Mon 01-Jul-13 17:15:45

How would they be using his personal account without his knowledge? Surely he's not given them his login and password details?

Nothing you've said suggests they intend for force anyone to do anything with pre-existing personal Twitter accounts. If he sets up a new one instead and uses that, are they seriously going to discipline him?

tiredaftertwo Mon 01-Jul-13 15:22:53

They've either got it wrong or there has been a muddle.

Lots of people have work twitter accounts, and put some other interesting stuff in there to build a following - but among the relevant audience.

I am not surprised that companies are monitoring SM use of named individuals - it is public domain and their name is associated with the organisation and could bring it into disrepute. I think in most organisations once you reach a certain level, you lose some privacy: teachers and doctors for example, lose it early on. It is all new stuff.

I suspect crossed wires - and would ask for a separate work account saying his current personal followers are not the right audience and he has lots of ideas about how to build a new, relevant following. It doesn't take along to send a tweet - it does to think about how to build a following but the thinking can be done anywhere. I would encourage the company to send them emails with possible leads on - good conferences, interesting articles etc on subjects related to his work, that they can tweet with a brief comment.

(NB not a Twitter expert but I follow some organisations that do SM brilliantly and yes, their employees have built a twitter personality and do engage that way - but it is not personal stuff)

PrincessScrumpy Mon 01-Jul-13 15:06:46

The 2 Weeks to set up an account is purely for those not on twitter. They are already using his personal twitter account to get data of his usage without his knowledge
Additionally, his role includes a lot of time in court where he cannot tweet so in order to keep up on the league tables he'll be doing it in his time our receive some "words of encouragement".

PrincessScrumpy Mon 01-Jul-13 15:01:44

They want them to use their personal accounts and mix up work tweets with personal ones so they get followers and are the "personalities" of the company. It's apparently so they can "conversate with the customers" (direct quote)
It's all bollocks and people are being paid lots of money to come up with the initiative.

scaevola Mon 01-Jul-13 14:58:40

As they're giving you 2 weeks to set up an account, or then be provided with one, it seems they are not expecting you to use your genuine personal accounts.

And work related tweeting (including 'cover' tweets if they really want it to look like a normal person recommendation) should of course be done in your paid hours. Encroaching onto genuine personal accounts, or expecting unpaid overtime to service this requirement would be wrong. But they aren't quite saying that.

flowery Mon 01-Jul-13 14:41:20

If he is being asked to tweet as part of his job, that's fine, but he should just say he prefers to keep his personal account separate (which of course he doesn't use at all during the working day) and they should set up him a new one for use during the day for work purposes if they want him to tweet as part of his role.

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 14:37:55

How much work time is being allocated to tweeting, in order to gain followers...?

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 14:36:25

It really does sound as if the company does not get how social media works.

If your DH is a regular twitter user maybe he could explain to them that a bunch of Dave_at_companyname Twitter accounts that tweet about the company because they are told to are unlikely to gain much in the way of followers.

PrincessScrumpy Mon 01-Jul-13 14:35:32

There is something called klout that records everything they do - if they don't have enough followers or tweet enough they will be down on the league table for the whole company. they want them to use personal accounts as they want to reach friends and family etc. it was going to cover fb too but that has been argued due to privacy settings. They are already using klout and know dh's account without him telling them.

flowery Mon 01-Jul-13 14:32:00

Well, in answer to your thread title, no they can't, and they would be foolish to attempt to do so.

But your OP makes it sound as though they are not doing that at all. No one is being forced to do it, and they can set up a new account if they do.

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 14:28:04

I think they will find that signing up people to Twitter (when they have no interest in Twitter) and saying "tweet stuff about the company" will not be very effective...

piprabbit Mon 01-Jul-13 14:25:25

Can't he just keep quiet about having his own account, let them do what they want about setting up another account on his behalf...then ignore the 'work' account and carry on using his personal account as usual?

In what way do they want him to use it 'for work'?

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 14:24:39

It sounds to me as if he doesn't have to "use his personal twitter account for work", he could choose to have another work one set up.

How are they planning to monitor usage? Is there a minimum amount of tweeting/replying/following that each person has to do with their set-up-by-the-company account?

PrincessScrumpy Mon 01-Jul-13 14:21:38

dh received an email today stating his company will be using klout to follow their twitter usage promoting the company. It says they have 2 Weeks in which to set up an account but nobody will be forced to do it and if you don't it's fine... As they will create an account for you.
Dh does use fb and twitter but in a recreational way, now he has to use his personal account for work and it'll be tracked. This seems wrong. What does mn think?

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