We’ve proclaimed the benefits of social media many times: we’ve also warned small business owners to update their status with some degree of caution. With online services that you use in your own private life, it’s all too easy to lapse into an unprofessional tone on the business profile. Before you know it, you can besmirch your company’s good name, just like Habitat and Nestle, to name two recent cases.
That said, up until now, there has always been the safety net of time. As the weeks pass, your tweets and your Facebook updates disappear from the page, replaced by more recent messages. In the fast-moving online world, mistakes can be forgotten.
Or so we thought. This week, the library of Congress in the US has announced that it will be archiving every single public tweet, considering them to be a valuable historical record of public opinion. At the same time, Google unveiled its ‘live search’ timeline, which at the moment allows you to go back to February of this year – and soon will go back to the very day Twitter launched (21st March 2006, as it happens) – and search all public tweets.
Now that your tweets are saved for posterity, it makes sound sense to give thought to what you type, both on your business AND personal accounts. However, if you’re looking for consolation, it might be found in the fact that Twitter this month signed up its 100 millionth user. Finding your minor indiscretion in a sea of tweets that size… well, let’s just say it might be easier to find a needle in a haystack.