Vote here door - by aprilzosia via FlickrIn a social media workshop recently I shared that while I am keenly interested in politics, I choose for business reasons not to buy into political topics on Twitter.

The comment at the time was an add on to the workshop, not part of what I’d prepared.

Since then, I have asked myself just what my rationale is for that stance. This post attempts to tease that out a bit.

First off, it’s not that I think business and politics are mutually exclusive. Far from it.

For me it’s more that I feel that if I tweet on political issues of the day I’m not going to do the right thing by my business brand, which is apolitical.

I think it is also relevant that, given the 140 character format, I don’t feel confident about having the sort of more in-depth political discussion I like to have,

There are other considerations which have helped entrench my decision not to use my @deswalsh Twitter account for political comments. One is that I have a lot of American followers and I am conscious there is much that I don’t know about the realities of US politics: and what I might have to say about Australian politics, where I am well informed, will I’m pretty sure not generally be of interest to people outside the country.

In that light, I don’t feel it’s good practice for me to even indulge in the odd throwaway political tweet (although I think I may have done that a few times now).

But fundamentally it’s about keeping my business brand apolitical.

I know I could set up another Twitter account where I could tweet away on politics, although I don’t feel a compulsion to do that and would not feel comfortable doing that anonymously. And if I made it clear that the new Twitter account was mine, I could see branding issues again.

I don’t feel deprived about all of this. I’m sure there are plenty of online forums where I could share my political views and have discussions about politics, without being too concerned about the brand implications.

Just not on Twitter.

And not on this blog.

Same basic principle: it’s about the brand.

Care to share your views, your practice on this topic?

Image credit: vote here door, by aprilzosia CC license by-sa 2.0, via Flickr

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).