Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 11, 201111:10 AM

Your Name Matters

Here's a truth: I never follow anyone on Twitter whose username is the name of a company.

You may already know that I am a Twitter Snob (more on that here: The Trouble With Twitter - Confessions Of A Twitter Snob). I don't follow everybody back and while I'm fascinated with the discourse on Twitter, I don't think I'm all that good at it (see: The Value (And Waste) Of Twitter). I am constantly adding new and interesting people, but I never... repeat: never... add anybody if their username is that of a company.

Following brands.

I only follow brands I find interesting (slight corrections: brands that I am head over heels about). There are not many of them out there (only a handful) and - more often than not - I unfollow them if the majority of the content is the brand trying to perform customer service (no offense to the brands doing this, I'm just - personally - not interested in following everyone else's ordeals, etc...).

If it's you... make it about you.

It's hard to make heads or tails of who to follow when it's a company name, generic corporate logo and the majority of the tweets (while personal) are to individuals that I don't know. I can appreciate (and I'm thankful) if companies find my tweets valuable (that's the whole point of doing it in the first place), but I have no appetite for the automatic follow-back. I like to follow people. Real people. Using real names. While I understand the need to have corporate profiles or those based on non-real names, it seems like this is also a point of discourse in Google + (more on that here: Google+ Backpedals On Its Real Names Policy). Pundits discuss Social Media as being all about the "conversation." The value for me, personally, comes from the real interactions between real human beings that takes place. It also comes from great content becoming as shareable and as findable as possible. The way stuff gets shared is, usually, through real people who have developed a semblance of credibility within an established community.

Real brands get real interactions when they involve real people.

Fundamentally, this is what excites me about our new media. Yes, there's no issue/problem with a company Twitter feed of Google + business page for those customers who want to connect in a less formal way with a brand, but it's certainly not the be all or end all of the opportunities. In the end, I believe that your name matters and that great brand reflections are delivered by real people, who are using their own name with an earnest desire to connect.

When you use your own name, you are standing up for and behind something. Don't forget the value in that and the credibility it brings to building true relationships.

By Mitch Joel