Just my thoughts

Is Twitter bad for government and business?

In his post entitled: Yes, Twitter is still dangerous ( , viewed 2/17/2009), Michael Krigsman contends that Twitter poses a security risk to businesses and governments. The example Mr. Krigsman uses is of Congressman Hoekstra real-time twittering his travels within Iraq. This, of course, does much to undermine the secrecy of the convoy.  Is this an issue with Twitter? Could the same not be said about any other real-time/near real-time communications platform (e.g. e-mail, IM, cell phones, blogs, etc...)? Couldn't the Congressman just as inadvertently mentioned his travel plans to a television or print reporter? Or just plain sent a postcard? We can't ignore the speed and reach with which the Internet can spread a message, and also we can't ignore the intractability of that message. Mr. Krigsman writes: I’m personally aware of confidential meetings where participants innocently twittered sensitive information that thousands of recipients may have read.  Have you ever Reply-all'ed to an e-mail instead of just Reply? It's just so easy to do irreparable damage. Still, our communications paradigms continue to shift, and we with them. It is not over generalizing to say all forms of communication can create a security risk. So, yes Mr. Krigsman is correct in saying that Twitter is a security risk. But it has always been about whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Which brings me back to Twitter, government and business.  Yes, secrets can leave their protected environment and travel around the world, and yes, sometimes that is very, very bad. But, conversely, you can also engage in a meaningful dialog with your constituents/customers. If we focus just on government for a moment, the potential is very exciting. Government 2.0 promises to bring the two essential things that any democracy needs: transparency and two-way dialogue. For the record, transparency does not mean that we post our missile codes or troop movements on MySpace (that is soooo 2 years ago). It means we have more insight into the legislation that affect our future, and more importantly that we have a efficient way to discuss them with our elected officials. It is important that elected officials such as Representative Hoekstra continue to use communication platforms like Twitter, to keep in touch—and of course equally important, that they are properly trained on how to safely and efficiently use them. They should also take the time to see the other side of the conversation, and perhaps they find it equally valuable.  Businesses are slowly beginning to see the value in listenting to all the (free) feedback their customers are providing. Likewise, they are also starting to join in on the conversation. While everything may not always be as controllable as corporations would prefer, being a part of the conversation ensures your point of view is heard. I think platforms like Twitter are a great benefit for government and business, and I for one would like to say to both: "Welcome!  We created you and we know you will make mistakes, but that's OK, we are here to help".
blog comments powered by Disqus