Why I Do Not Tweet About Politics

Vote here door - by aprilzosia via FlickrIn a social media workshop recently I shared that while I am keenly interested in politics, I choose for business reasons not to buy into political topics on Twitter.

The comment at the time was an add on to the workshop, not part of what I’d prepared.

Since then, I have asked myself just what my rationale is for that stance. This post attempts to tease that out a bit.

First off, it’s not that I think business and politics are mutually exclusive. Far from it.

For me it’s more that I feel that if I tweet on political issues of the day I’m not going to do the right thing by my business brand, which is apolitical.

I think it is also relevant that, given the 140 character format, I don’t feel confident about having the sort of more in-depth political discussion I like to have,

There are other considerations which have helped entrench my decision not to use my @deswalsh Twitter account for political comments. One is that I have a lot of American followers and I am conscious there is much that I don’t know about the realities of US politics: and what I might have to say about Australian politics, where I am well informed, will I’m pretty sure not generally be of interest to people outside the country.

In that light, I don’t feel it’s good practice for me to even indulge in the odd throwaway political tweet (although I think I may have done that a few times now).

But fundamentally it’s about keeping my business brand apolitical.

I know I could set up another Twitter account where I could tweet away on politics, although I don’t feel a compulsion to do that and would not feel comfortable doing that anonymously. And if I made it clear that the new Twitter account was mine, I could see branding issues again.

I don’t feel deprived about all of this. I’m sure there are plenty of online forums where I could share my political views and have discussions about politics, without being too concerned about the brand implications.

Just not on Twitter.

And not on this blog.

Same basic principle: it’s about the brand.

Care to share your views, your practice on this topic?

Image credit: vote here door, by aprilzosia CC license by-sa 2.0, via Flickr

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from Coachville.com and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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  2. Good stuff, Des.

    I am constantly surprised by the number of people who consider it appropriate to tweet about divisive politics and provide other social commentary while using a company logo as their profile picture.

  3. Yes, you have to wonder, Ryan, whether that’s thoughtless or reckless. And perhaps there is an element of assuming all right-minded people will of necessity share the tweeter’s perspective!

    I acknowledge that some people may be willing to take a deliberate risk in terms of business potential or even their career, for the sake of their freedom to express their views, but the relative trivialness (let alone nastiness) of some of the politically oriented tweets I see make me doubt that there is generally what we might call “thought through” positions in play.

  4. Hi Des,

    Very thought provoking post! I have wrestled with this question for a long time and a still not sure where I land on it.

    On the one hand there is the brand and it would be great if it could be apolitical and dedicated to great service to all customers and clients. My question is from what you said here, where would you feel it is appropriate to voice your opinions?

    Like you I do not feel comfortable about being anonymous or using a pen name. But when people look up your name on Google, even if you publish your political views on another site, your name will bring up a mix of business and political references.

    What is your solution for this problem?

  5. Columbia

    Great questions. My apologies for taking so long to respond!

    If I wanted to put some time and energy into commenting on politics, I would be quite happy to set up a new blog for the purpose and would not have a problem in having my name attached. In saying that, I recognise that in the days when I was doing a lot of consulting to governments, it would have been conceivable that I could have been passed over for particular consultancies because of some view or opinion I had expressed on my blog. Right now that is more in the realm of hypothetical considerations for me, but it could be very real for others.

    Then again, as happens with some advertising companies and law firms, a perceived orientation to / affinitiy with a particular political party or political tendency might be a plus in terms of helping a social media strategist like me being preferred over a more “apolitical” provider, by a government or a political machine.

    And I recognise and respect that some might decide that being overt about their political views was not a risk they wanted to take.

    You make a very good point about the fact that online searches will not segregate the business commentary from the political observations. Let the blogger beware!

    In short, I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution.

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