I posted this on Twitter the other day:

Church politics are stupid.

It was based on a conversation I had with a guy about his past experiences with local churches.  He had been burned many times, and still carries some of those wounds.  It wasn’t based on anything that’s happening in the church where I serve on staff.

I’m all about challenging my system.  And I’d encourage you to continually evaluate the effectiveness of your system, too.  Tweak it, hack it up, throw it out.  Make your system do what you want it to do.  Criticize it.  Mock it.  Stomp on it.

But if you’re a leader in your organization, don’t do it on Twitter.

Why not?

6 reasons to not use Twitter to bash your organization

1. It’s too easy. For me, wisdom doesn’t roll off of my tongue.  Stupidity does.  If I’m going to say something that’s dumb, it’s going to be because I don’t think before I speak.  I just rattle off something without putting diligent thought to my words.  Twitter makes it incredibly easy to post whatever you’re thinking.  It’s as easy as a text message.  And though that’s one of the beauties of social media, it can be one of the uglies when you don’t think before you update. (Which makes me so thankful that social media wasn’t a big deal when I was in high school…because I would have publicly said some dumb things)

2. There’s little accountability. You can fire off an update and then just let it ride.  Although there’s the false sense of accountability because Twitter operates on the public sphere, it’s not really accountability.  Because you can always wriggle your way out of what you said.  “Oh, that was just what I said on Twitter…”  And an @reply or a direct message (for you Facebook users, a wall post or a message) is much more easily ignored than a coworker sitting across the table from you.

3. All of the right voices don’t hear it. As much as we Twitterers would like to think, the whole world hasn’t adopted social media.  Though it’s changed the landscape of information sharing, not everybody has bought in.  And even for people who have bought in, there are varying levels of involvement.  Some people check it once/week.  Others check it once/hour.  Lots and lots of information is shared…and lots and lots of information is never read.  If you’ve got some scathing criticism to say about your organization, there are other key leaders who need to hear that…not just your friend from 2nd grade.

4. You’re limited to 140 characters. How would you feel if your boss came into your staff meeting and said, “Can’t believe the decisions our finance team is making! Hope they enjoy getting fired…” and then walked out of the room?  You’d want a little more explanation, right?  You want more than 140 characters to help you understand where you went wrong, and possible solutions to the problem.  There’s too much left up to interpretation when criticisms come through Twitter.

5. You have little control over the conversation. If criticisms are introduced in person, they can be immediately addressed and explained in person.  If they are introduced via Twitter, your words are stewed over, conversed, and twisted before you can ever fully explain yourself.  It could be days before you are able to sit down with those you criticized, and in the meantime, your words have taken on a life of their own.

6. It could get you fired. Read the story about the Cisco employee HERE.

If you feel the need to be critical of an organization you don’t work for, that’s a different story.  I’ve done that…and it’s worked out well.  Read my story HERE.

But if you work for, or are a leader in an organization, and you feel the need to be critical, that’s fine…just don’t do it on Twitter.