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If we jump in the way back machine and go to 2006, when Twitter was invented, it wasn’t part of the national conversation the way it is today. I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree at the time and the only social networks I knew of were Facebook and MySpace. Now, students are being taught to create a personal brand.  It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come in a few short years.

Twitter can take you to the party even if you can’t actually be at the party. Want to get behind-the-scenes at the Oscars? See the view from the front row at a presidential debate? Just hop on a hashtag and hang on.

This, my friends, is what we in the news business call “live tweeting,” a.k.a. Twitter Chat. Even if you’re not actually at the event, you can “live tweet” about an event as you watch it and share your reactions – “that dress! What was Sandra Bullock thinking #Oscars” – with the whole world.

However, if you’re protecting your tweets, the world won’t see what you post. If your account is personal, you may want this. For a business or news organization, this could be considered a Twitter “fail.”
It can be hard for businesses to keep a consistent Twitter voice, especially when several people run one account. I loved the example presented by Jill Duffy: General Motors Twitter account description names the four handles of the people who do the Tweeting for its account.

It can also be difficult to reach several different communities with one account. Branden Hampton’s company, Influential Media Group, is behind @Notebook, which was named the No. 1 most engaging brand on Twitter. Hampton told Forbes that his company runs separate accounts on fitness and skin care as well. This is a good idea, as different genres can interest totally different communities. For example, USA TODAY has its main account and accounts that correspond with each section of its newspaper/website — @USATODAYSports, @USATODAYLife, etc.

For me, joining Twitter back in 2008 felt like the thing to do because all my co-workers, were doing it. I was a newbie web producer and wanted to – and still want – to know how to use the social channels people use to connect with each other.

Like Michael Brito said, “Having a Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re a social media master … ” and I really feel that way. I always feel there is something I can learn, something I can do better. If I had it to do all over again, I would take my time and focus even making even more real connections rather than worrying so much about the follower count.

I do worry about what being so socially connected is doing to us as a society, which is what New York Times writer Bill Keller touches on in his 2011 article: “Twitter is not just an ambient presence. It demands attention and response. It is the enemy of contemplation.”

Do you know of any organizations that successfully maintain multiple Twitter accounts?

Are there any circumstances you can think of in which a business account should be private?

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