I'm already swamped by email, etc etc - how would I manage Twitter?
Email swamps us because it is hard to discern the messages that we do need to reply to from the junk that we shouldn't have received in the first place. But Twitter is an opt-in service. If you feel swamped by getting a newspaper at the weekend then perhaps this is not for you. You will choose who to follow and how often you want to check if something interesting is waiting there for you to discover, or respond to. But if you don't have time then you can ignore it. No one will be annoyed or upset. If someone really wants to get your attention they probably have other ways of contacting you than by a tweet (the dreaded email!) but you will very likely be surprised by how liberating you find 140 characters. Brevity is your friend!
And if like me you want to explore Twitter for your professional development then you can make some choices. What do you currently do for CPD? Why don't you swap 10% of that time to Twitter and see what return you get on your time investment? (I can make that challenge quite confidently!)
Should I have a personal and a professional account?
I have one account. It makes life easy. I don't feel that I share very much of my personal life but you probably will get a very good sense of what I will be like if you meet me at a conference from my tweets. You won't know how I interact with my family but I don't imagine you are very interested in that. Despite leading quite a public life I like my privacy. I feel that I have reached a happy balance.
Is it a problem that tweets are archived?
This question surprised me a little. If my tweets are professional then it is good that they are archived surely? Often the first thing I do when I attend a conference is check if the tweets are archived and if not then set up an archive. Or I try to curate tweets into stories myself using tools like storify. So archiving is not the enemy, it is our friend. I think the questioner was concerned that I was through my limited personal tweets I was exposing personal data. But this happens every time I use my mobile phone, my Visa card, and with CCTV cameras in the UK, often just walking down the street. We are all trading privacy for convenience to a certain extent. Again I am happy with my current balance?
I hope to do another follow-up post about how to get the most out of Twitter, but in the meantime, what are the questions that people raise when you talk to them about social media?