A few days ago I wrote a tweet about whether it was fair to follow companies that don’t allow their employees access to Twitter. It got one response, and I’m not sure I was very clear. On second thought, I don’t think I phrased the question well. The question isn’t really whether it’s fair to follow companies, but whether it’s good for the Twittersphere.
Here’s what I’m thinking about: The success of Twittering from a business perspective depends on there being a large audience of followers ready to read & act on tweets. If there is no audience, there is no reaction. However, many companies block access to Twitter (and Facebook, and Linkedin, and etc.) to most of their employees, even as they ramp up social media marketing plans. This seems hypocritical (or at least short sighted) to me.
In a B2C world it’s not necessarily a problem, but in a B2B world it is. At the office I’m a customer for, say, trade show logistics, or business analysis. At home I’m not. So am I going to follow these people at the expense of valuable personal time in short supply, if I can access Twitter only from home?
There seems to be an assumption that while they’ve done the prudent thing in blocking access, all of their customers aren’t as sharp and will leave things wide open.
I wonder if many decades ago companies were ramping up their telemarketing campaigns even as they enforced policies limiting phone access to their employees? Or before that, direct mail campaigns back when people didn’t get their own mail?
So, should we follow companies that limit Twitter access to their own employees?