Real-Time Web: Think Before You Tweet!
I like when folks take care in the delivery of their words. They draft a story, rewrite it, fine-tune it and hesitate as the cursor hovers over the Print, Publish, or Send button. Whether it’s 140 characters or 140 words, they think before they type so the text will support the intended message. Taking time to tell a story means you care about your audience.

What is Real-Time Web? Wikipedia says it’s a “set of technologies and practices which enable users to receive information as soon as it is published by its authors.” I really dig the fact that Joe Twitterer can break and spread news before media outlets can even turn on their cameras. And, smart companies utilize this instant communication to better connect with and serve their customers. It opens the door for healthy transparency and more accountability in business. Of course, in the quickly evolving tech world, there’s some sloppiness to learn from. I’ve seen rants, off-color humor, loose language, and personal diary entries broadcasted within business-related accounts. Don’t be trigger happy; think before you tweet.

It seems these real-time outlets tempt folks to mindlessly report stuff. I fall prey to this, too. I also wonder if some folks take more of a voyeurism approach to their method of posting on the fly. Paul Carr from makes this observation: “In a perverse twist on the uncertainty principle, knowing that our behavior is being observed inevitably changes it for the more dramatic. Just look at reality TV.”

Anybody out there just getting into the game, watch yerself. The majority of real-time web examples you’ll find show how NOT to communicate. If your account is even remotely related to who you are professionally, apply what you know about being courteous in the workplace. If you’re about to tweet something you wouldn’t say in the conference room, don’t tweet it. When in doubt, don’t share it. Real-time web shouldn’t make us feel obligated to communicate in stream of consciousness mode; its benefit is the immediate access we have with an audience. The story, snippet, or message still needs to be filtered with discernment.

-Corey Wilkinson, Wilkinson Brothers, Inc.

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