Peter Whitehead, digital business editor at the Financial Times, calls Twitter a “road to ruin.”
In a column published Oct.21 on ft.com, Whitehead chronicled his initiation with Twitter — The simple sign-up process for Twitter, his immediate connection to Barack Obama, and the potential business and networking opportunities he sees through the service. It’s a typical experience.
However, he stops short there, concerned about his identity on Twitter. “Am I just me or am I representing the FT? Can I say outrageous things? Can I use it to promote Digital Business?” he asks.
While social media like Twitter contributes to blurring the boundaries between professional and personal, and consequences of this convergence are possible, Whitehead doesn’t justify his hesitation. He provides no examples of how people have ruined their careers or reputations on Twitter. Nor does he look at the benefits of using social media.
The broader FT organization, however, is taking a more optimistic attitude toward social media and already seeing its fruits. According to an Oct. 25 story on Journalism.co.uk, FT has launched a virtual Long Room, “a new comment and analysis area”, where registered users can join topic “tables” or create their own. This adds to FT’s already successful financial blog, FT Alphaville. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic (ABCe) figures for March, the blog has 7.1 million unique users, including 750,000 registered users.
Whitehead may be cautious toward new social media channels like Twitter but should look internally to the success of FT’s other social media endeavors before passing judgment.