When good CEOs issue bad Tweets

By Jessica Levco
jessical@ragan.com
Why and how to keep your Twitter newbie from being publicly dopey

Companies and CEOs can’t wait to jump in on the Twitter conversation. By sending out 140-character blasts, a Twitter-savvy CEO can keep people informed not only on the company’s daily operations but on whatever he or she might disclose.  

By subscribing to specific Twitter feeds, you can track what your favorite CEO is up to. Whether it’s Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems or Tony Hsieh of Zappos, you’ll read some company news, but you might also find out what they ate for dinner. Twitter is turning out to be a platform for companies to mix business and pleasure.

If used incorrectly, Twitter could be damaging and embarrassing to your reputation and company—or, in some cases, even a potential threat to national security. Here’s how: Rep. Peter Hoekstra took some flak when he used Twitter during a top-secret trip to Iraq. (The Michigan Republican, by the way, is a ranking member of the Intelligence Committee.) Oh, and it turns out you can get BlackBerry service in Baghdad.

Our advice: Don’t let your chief executive Tweet every thought that runs through his or her mind. Here’s what could happen, as depicted by our fictitious CEO:

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