Dom Sagolla, a co-founder of Twitter, believes the online tool makes businesses a little more transparent - but warns never to tweet when angry.
Has Twitter changed the way business is done?
To the effect the internet has [changed the way business is done], Twitter is an acceleration of that. It's [perhaps] increased transparency. It's much easier to see inside an organisation by looking at its individual contributors. It's a lot easier for information to jump the boundaries or a corporate firewall. So in a way, it's made executives more responsible for the thoughts and actions of their employees and it's made employees more beholden to their corporation in terms of identity. I've seen a lot of examples of people with their personal Twitter accounts getting into trouble because they may or may not represent their company and it's very difficult to find the line there because we live out loud now, we live in public in a way with this tool. And to the extent that's enabled those types of perforations, I think it's changed business possibly for the better. We all deserve a little more transparency.
A lot of bosses seem afraid of Twitter. Should they be?
The most difficult and fearsome moment is before you begin. When you do, that fear goes away. The CEO needs to have the voice of the company and it's a very big burden. They do it every day naturally, but it's not something they think about too much. The public nature of the service, the immutability of it, the asymmetricality of it - in other words you've got a following you don't necessarily subscribe to, you don't necessarily know - that's daunting. Trying to be concise yet informative is an age-old challenge so I understand why it's hard but I think people shouldn't be afraid.
What's your top tip to CEOs who want to tweet?
This is what I say to everyone: try to fit your speaking voice into your writing voice. So if you use 'like' in a sentence, put that in there. If you say 'um' or have a verbal tick, try it out. There are tricks of poetry, drama, journalism that are extremely effective and to study those is to get an advance.
What do you think of business jargon?
It's extremely hard to [use pointless jargon] in 140 characters. That tiny space strips people bare to a degree - and I find that refreshing.
Do you ever think you've created a monster?
That's what brings me here: a sense of responsibility, a sense of teaching people the best possible use for this thing and offsetting what could be seen as potential negatives. The internet itself has had these patterns itself since it began and Twitter is another extension of the internet. So I am expecting to see all of these things over and over again as social networks proliferate. I try to advise against, for example, writing when you are emotionally compromised. Don't tweet when you are angry or upset because that's when people get in trouble.
To watch our interview with Dom Sagolla, please go to thenational.ae/multimedia