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I Robot? Should Media Members Have a Personality on Twitter?

24th June 2011

You want to write these days? Blogging ain’t enough. Jump on the social media train, as it’s left the station. Twitter in. Blogging out.

But, if Twitter is “in” then that begs the question: Are reporters, authors, columnists allowed to be “social” on a social network?

Or, more correctly, am I allowed to have personality?

It’s a thorny question. Write for ESPN or other mega-outlets, then there are social network policies. Some writers aren’t forced into policy, but the mandate from publishers are pretty clear: talk your articles up. “Promote your outlet. Keep other aspects of your life out of the social network space. It’s dangerous to us.”

Those that follow also have an interest in whether you talk about everything from your morning cup of Joe to what’s playing on your iPod. Some have come for the information you provide. “I want your information and personally, I don’t want to wade through the chaff. Keep your life separate.”

I get this, kind of. Twitter is a tool for many to get information. On the other hand, some Twitter’s greatest aspects are that a) by definition it’s social, and; b) it gives authors a chance to show their something besides a breathing RSS machine – a robot there to dispense news.

It’s happened to me. I was politely asked (see below), and to that end, it provided the opportunity to ask some of the over 7,000 followers I have: “Should I keep sports biz and personal commentary in separate Twitter accounts?”

@ Enjoyed the sports info but a lot of other tweets that didn't interest me. Suggest seperate BizOfSports acct + personal acct.
@WherYaAtWhoDat
Pony Tellagroni

The overwhelming response was to keep it a mix. For some strange reason, people want to know what I think of music, news on autism, and other nonsense. More than one said it was refreshing and added personality. Hitting close to home, Kevin Goldstein understood something else:

@ That would be a bad business decision to separate them.
@Kevin_Goldstein
Kevin Goldstein

If there’s something lacking, it’s personality from some of those reporting sports on Twitter. This maybe due to company policy. It may also be that there are some that view Twitter as nothing more than a vehicle to pimp their stories. Or, it may be that they’ve built a following to the stage where the need to show some color is deemed unneeded. Whatever the case, I hope fans get to know the writers. Some are as compelling as those they cover in the media.

I always am astounded that there’s more than zero following me. I just don’t seem to me to be compelling. To all those that do follow, thanks for coming along for the ride. For now, take a dose of sports biz, and… get a dose of whatever else is going on in my little world.

FOLLOW MAURY BROWN ON TWITTER: @BizballMaury

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network. He is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney and Variety. He has freelanced for the New York Times, MSNBC, Baseball America, NBCSports.com, and Yahoo! Sports. His contact info is here.

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One Response to “I Robot? Should Media Members Have a Personality on Twitter?”

  1. Jason Collette Says:

    I agree with KG. I enjoy the non-baseball stuff both of you put out there as much as your baseball stuff from the good beer recommendations to the good music stuff. If people do not like it, that’s what the unfollow button is for on Twitter.