Twitter: A Privacy Conundrum

Is it ethical to follow employees?

That’s a question I wrestled with over the weekend as I prepared to sign-up to follow two of my colleagues with active Twitter feeds:

Jeff Majka (http://twitter.com/jmajka)
Shany Seawright (http://twitter.com/sseawright)

My rationale was sincere. I have struggled to understand the business value delivered by Twitter because of the inability to share meaningful thought leadership content. However, I recognize its adoption in business circles, and noted the Twitter community of journalists and analysts created at the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Exploring and observing is an effective way to assess a social media application. If I’m to be comfortable making a client recommendation, I have to be able to articulate a clear ROI. And that is more than a tenuous benchmark such as awareness and community participation.

Yet, I pride myself on respecting the privacy of Strategic Communications Group’s (Strategic) employees. I am very much engaged in their professional success and, in particular, have established strong ties with both Shany and Jeff during the four years we’ve worked together. However, there is a line in the relationship I don’t step over.

Will the content of their tweets change if I’m a follower? Will they refrain from commenting about a frustrating day? Or, does the very nature of social media (open, honest dialogue) make this a non-issue?

I’ve yet to sign-on as one of Shany’s or Jeff’s followers. What do you think...should I?

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