Pick a Steve

I’ve been at this digital social networking thing for 3 1/2 years or so now, and it’s been a great (and educational) journey!

But there is one question that keeps pecking away at my forehead, and maybe you can help me with it. In fact, ONLY you can help me with it, because it has to do with you.

Which Steve Woodruff do you want to follow?

Let me explain. While I don’t consider myself to be schizophrenic (yet – but there are still kids in the nest here!), I do possess a few different “personas” on-line. There’s the pharma guy (with a dedicated pharma blog, Impactiviti); there’s the general marketing/branding/social media fellow (Stickyfigure blog), and then there’s the more personal stuff on Steve’s Leaves. Every one of those blogs is its own info-stream.

All of these personas and infostreams meet on Twitter – plus photos, banter, occasional spoofs, and whatever else comes to mind. Twitter is the 360-degree view, and that’s where I have the nagging question.

Do you prefer to subscribe to a person on Twitter (holistically), or a topical info-stream? Are you looking for information (primarily), developing personal/professionals connections (primarily) – or is it a solid mix of the two?

In my case, a number of my followers are from the pharma world – what is your reaction when I start tweeting on general brands or social media ROI? Or if you originally linked up with me due to an interest in branding, is the string of tweets when I’m at a pharma conference useful or just noisy? I’m sure I’m not the only “social networker” wondering about this – and I want to make sure that I’m providing value that YOU want, in a way that works best.

One idea: would there be value in setting up different Twitter accounts that would emphasize different facets/info-streams (one for pharma, one for photos, etc.) or do you just prefer to subscribe to @swoodruff and take the punishment of the full spectrum? I can see benefits and drawbacks to either approach. Is subscribing to a choice of info-streams for/from the same person a good idea or just a pain? What say you?

(full disclosure – I enjoy seeing people 360-degrees on Twitter. I can find info in a thousand places – I like the mixture of info, links, personality, creative ideas, pix, banter, shared parental angst, etc. But that’s me. I want your thoughts!)

See also: The Social Media Isolation Chamber


Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog

Twitter: @swoodruff

Connect with Steve Woodruff

About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

41 Responses to Pick a Steve

  1. Suzi says:

    I agree with being wellrounded but with direction. If I follow u for the info, your personal posts tell me enough about u to allow me to know, like, trust you and to feel more connected. Yes, u could be full time info stream, but I’d never feel as though we have a personal connection. My vote is for a mix… But stay relevant.

  2. Gimme the 360 version. B/c if we all start creating separate accounts for all the different roles we play..um. no. That to me is catering to the onslaught of message out only non humans that have emerged. I’m 2.5 years shy of your experience tho. But my newbie year finds me 100% wanting the 360. I can tell what’s u vs your diff hats and frankly, we each wear so many that it would seem kinda kooky if you only spoke from one voice all the time. Thanks for the ask and thanks @chrisbrogan for giving this a shout out before his breaky in Paris.

  3. Great question Steve. But I have to agree with Tresha that 360 is the way to go. Especially (if you have not heard of this yet) in the coming age of the Poken – http://www.poken.com/ – social media business card. Once folks start sharing all their social presences with each other instantaneously it will be even more apparent that all the parts add up to the one whole … so why not just be that 360-degree person everywhere?

  4. Summer @summertweet says:

    When someone shares something genuine about their personal interests, likes and dislikes beyond their “business” tweets, it adds credibility and a sense of transparency to their Twitter “persona.” However, it’s also important to remember, that if someone works for an employer who has strict guidelines, it may be necessary, mandatory or just plain smart to separate out their personal opinions and tweets to another Twitter account. I don’t mind if someone has separate accounts and if I’m interested I will follow more than one account. I haven’t found it to be an issue with all of the app features available. (Good post!)

  5. Steve, what an awesome post! I’d like to get u on my NPR tech segment to discuss this further. It’s an absolutely valid question. we all really wear sooo many hats these days you really wonder if you should segment-out your stream! To help me deliver the most value on Twitter from time to time I actually ask “why do u follow me?” I’ve even used twitpoll to help identify the priorities of relevancy. While not every single person replies, enough do reply which helps me to identify some Twitter expectations. I personally believe 360 is best!

  6. Liz says:

    The full Steve (not related to the full Monty) is not a punishment but a pleasure. I think it depends on the individual and why they are on Twitter. If you want to maintain different identities, you can always create new Twitter personas named after your blogs (if the names are still available).

    My perfect Twitter formula that I look for is 1/3 original, personal Tweets/observations, 1/3 links/information and 1/3 responses to other people’s messages or ideas. That’s what I shoot for & what I look for in other people.

    It’s all about balance. I’ll read topics about people’s business (even if I don’t care about it) if they mix in Tweets about their life (which I do care about!).

  7. Great question, Steve. This is something I’ve thought about as well. I have the issue with a few different online “personas” and I wonder if it’s all right to mix the two. My guess is “yes.”

    Some people do want an info stream, but for me, I only trust the info when I know the person behind it. In many cases, it means ACTUALLY knowing the person in that we’ve either met in person or directly corresponded in some other meaningful way (Twitter doesn’t count). A lifeless stream doesn’t do anything for me. That’s why I don’t follow news streams like CNN. If I want a stream of news with no personality, I can subscribe to their RSS feed.

    When I’ve met people who read my blog, I think they also appreciate that I’m an actual person who doesn’t just sit around and think about digital marketing in pharma. Having a few different personas makes this possible.

  8. I prefer people rather than feeds. I lose twitter followers because of my 360 degree-ness, but I would rather be a human than a stream 🙂

    • Jason Keath says:

      Love that. Rather be a human than a stream. I agree with Chris and Steve. I think personality rules the day when I choose to invest in relationships these days. It breeds trust and ultimately more rewarding relationships on all sides. Those that choose not to open themselves up completely online are welcome to make that choice. I do not judge. But I prefer dealing with those that do. It make for better friendships, better business, and generally makes me smile a little more through my day.

      Nice post Steve. Cheers.

  9. Liza Sisler says:

    I struggle with the same thing – interest in social media, technology and healthcare with a little Ireland and positive news thrown in for good measure. I try to focus the convesation though hashtag use, so that content can reach the relevant audience (and admit to getting more than a little hashtag happy from time to time!).

    I want to know more about the people I follow than just the professional persona – I like the 360 view and to meeting my tweeps in real life whenever possible not to mention introducing new people to the community building power of Twitter! Tweetcloud is fun for a view of what you really tweet about too http://tweetcloud.icodeforlove.com/ Great post – thanks for sharing.

  10. Susan Murphy says:

    I’m a people person, not a feed person. I do follow the odd feed, mostly news outlets – but, the ones who have people behind them are more appealing to me for sure. For example, we have a morning news show up here in Canada called Canada AM – I follow their tweets mostly because the person behind them is so darn entertaining!

    I do have a company account that I occasionally tweet from, but I find that most people would rather interact with a person rather than a company.

    So keep the 360 view, Steve – all of you is interesting!


  11. Dana Moos says:


    I first follow people. I engage with people whose tweets are interesting, thought provoking, engaging, fun, informative and only later do I follow streams. We’re all so busy these days that if we were to follow streams without first streamlining our streams, we’d never get anything done!

  12. Fabio Gratton says:

    Thank you for asking! I follow you because I like what you blog and tweet about. I care mostly about the healthcare space, but it’s just as important to understand what’s going on in the broader media world. That said, if the balance of your tweets shifted into more personal stuff (and I stress, BALANCE — Like Jonathan said, color and personality is important), I am not sure I would continue to “follow”. Or maybe I would still follow, but not have you as an active, visible stream in my tweetdeck. I have made a deliberate choice to keep @skypen very focused on specific topics, with the occasional deviation. I do have an @fgratton accnt and an @ignitehealth accnt, but I think they will be used differently. I love this post by Olivier Blachard (you may have seen this) about managing an enterprise twitter presence. http://bit.ly/5fi66 – he has some great suggestions that make a lot of sense. And technically, the brand of “Steve” is an enterprise. 🙂

  13. Yep, 360 is what I’m in it for.

    I can use Google Alerts for industry news, personality is king!

  14. Miguel says:

    Great post, Steve! As you say you are ‘not the only “social networker” wondering about this’. I also prefer the 360-degrees guy, with his philias and phobias, than just a portion. I want to know the genuin and authentic person. Even in a long term commercial relationship it is not very natural to talk only about business.

    On the other hand as your behavior is that of a 360-degrees person, it could be expected that those who are following you would rather tend to prefer the holistic person than just a single facet. To make sure that you get a not-biased feed-back you should get also the opinion from people who currently do not follow you. But that’s maybe easier said than done.

  15. Ivan Walsh says:

    Hi Steve,

    They all have merit. However, I prefer the 360 approach.

    I’m willing to filter out (ie ignore) the tweets that don’t interest as long as I get a better handle on the person.

    If you take the person out of the process, it’s just a series of links. There’s no personality!

    Maybe experiment with a mix eg 30% pharma, 30% SM and 40% what comes across your desk.

    PS – i actually find your newsletter is where the real value is. Twitter is just too much these days.


  16. Steve,

    Sitting in a hotel room in Tokyo as I read this after posting a poem to my poetry blog- not my Masiguy blog or my marketing blog… or any of the company blogs, Twitter accounts or Facebook pages I maintain.

    In this new day of Social Media, many of us have no choice but to have multiple personalities (and yes, I often talk to myself or speak in the 3rd person- Tim thinks it’s weird, though…)

    Here’s the thing- I post/ create the most content as “me”. I can’t help it, actually. It’s such a struggle for me to find that “other voice” and it often- in my mind- comes off as slightly “hollow” when I do it. With the multiple company blogs and Twitter/ Facebook accounts I have to provide content to, it is very challenging.

    In the end, I think more people read me for “me”. I try to be relevant in as many places as possible, but I think I am most myself when I speak in my own voice- whichever outlet that might be.

    Ultimately, we all want the “real Steve”- whoever, and wherever, that is. Multiple streams are fine, so long as the voice is the same… but I personally find myself migrating back to my default “me” on my more personal blog.

    (In typical Piscean nature, I see that my answer is as clear as mud… but I tried.)

  17. ellen hoenig says:

    What a great question that we all face…I LOVE the many snippets of Steve that I see, and comment on the “non-pharma” stuff as often as I do the pharma stuff. (Probably because I too don’t see myself just as a “pharma” marketing person but a consumer marketer, mom, creative, e-patient, patient advocate, friend etc)

    How else would I have learned that we both share a love for the Adirondacks and outdoor living (and that you you were married in the Adirondacks)?

    Like many have already said, knowing the ‘full’ person brings added credibility to one’s information and blogs. We’re all complex beings so I vote to keep your twitter persona as it is. I don’t want to read three separate Steve feeds! That would take away the fun! 😉
    Happy Friday! Ellen

  18. Sally says:

    I follow you because I like you as a person, Steve.

    You have a nice mix between business and personal; we learn from Steve the businessman and human being in equal measure.

    Life is like the many facets of a diamond; some rough, some smooth, and some not always glimpsed depending on whether you are looking at the right angle or not.

    People who are transparent and offer 360 degree views tend to be authentic in the end.

  19. Tracy Lee says:

    Here’s my take, I like the full picture! I love learning about anything and everything and one of the things I love about Twitter is that I am constantly learning. If I were to only follow one aspect of you (say photos), I might miss learning something new a topic I don’t really know much about (pharma) but would find interesting.

    One way I have resolved for my following this is that I have another Twitter account for the New Hampshire Photo Tour (@NHPT) that I use mostly for pushing updates from the blog. This way, people who don’t want to hear my incessant banter, can just subscribe to that feed. I push the Twitter updates automatically through a Facebook Fan Page. So far, it has been working very well and I have people who subscribe to both personas and then others that just follow one or the other. I have been told I can be prolific and some people don’t want to deal with that. 😉

    So, my take is to give me the whole person, but you can supplement for those who just want a targeted message. We love the complete package! 🙂

  20. Chris Wilson says:

    Be yourself and all the quirks and dimensions that includes.

  21. Liz Strauss says:

    I’ve done both and I suspect I’ll do both again. I find when I niche too far to one topic something happens … I get bored with myself, which has to mean that I get boring to others.

    My conversations with people often cover a vast array of topics and ideas. I wind and wander. It’s who I am. Some folks are good at sticking to one thing. Folks who need that should read their blogs.

    I love this post

  22. @StetsonClowes says:

    I agree with the comments that a 360 view is best. In particular Liz’s balance of a third personal tweets, a third observations/links, and a third responses feels like a good balanced mix.

    I am not in pharma but a similar industry, so some of the pharma tweets may go over my head, but many others are extremely relevant and I think I may have retweeted one. That’s pretty easy to filter.

    Also the info stream model feels a little stale and misses capitalizing on the strengths of social. I follow a couple of industry newsfeeds but have dropped many of those as well.

  23. Sonny Gill says:

    I follow you and others for who they are. Your personality, smarts, and humor is what made me want to connect with you and create that online relationship. What do I feel when you talk pharma? I feel that you’re connecting with your pharma community, those who look at you as a leader in that realm and they follow you for those reasons.

    Are these communities inherently different? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean you’re forced to adhere to one or the other. I’m a HUGE fan of NBA basketball and can find me a lot of the time chatting about games and news. I have a basketball blog and though I have a separate Twitter account for it, I feel more comfortable talking with my entire community under @sonnygill because that’s who I am.

    I’m a marketing/SM nut, passionate about basketball & the NBA, plus several other interests. And that’s what my community knows me for and get that, day in and day out.

    Be who you are – a Nutella loving guy 😉

  24. Scott Carson says:

    I think it’s absolutely critical to combine your personal tweets along with any one sector of business you may be in. People will only listen when they know,like, and trust as mentioned in other comments. However, do you run the risk of losing people when combining two totally different sectors? I’ve been in work at home business sector for a short time,and planned on creating a different Twitter account for a health blog.
    I marked notify for added comments to weigh that choice. Thanks for the post!

  25. It appears to be unanimous. I have to admit that I completely blow past most of the pharma tweets, but I still enjoy seeing them and I prefer it to be my choice to read them or not. I never know where I might pick up a new piece of information, so I occasionally stop and scan a few. I hope you don’t mind if I still give you a gentle ribbing at the end of each conference.

  26. Another enthusiastic vote for 360! I started following you on Twitter because of your healthcare marketing smarts and from that discovered your Impactivi blog.

    Certainly, your personality shines through those media. Discovering StickyFigure and then Steve’s Leaves has enhanced my respect and affection for you in unanticipated ways. I’m grateful that I found those opportunities to learn more about you (e.g., your photography is superb). Going 360 will allow others the pleasure and privilege. Do it!

    And here’s another reason: managing fractured identity is exhausting. I speak/write from experience — of fractured identity — which is why when I started on Twitter, I decided to tweet as all of me.

    In my case, this means being transparent about my participation in what I call the “faith and religion industry.” As a result, I’ve had folks from the faith-based audience get more involved with healthcare issues and interested in supporting healthcare reform.

    And for every healthcare person who is “offended” when I RT evening prayer, there are three who connect through the back channel to say, “thank you.” Too bad usually one of those those three adds, “glad you have the guts and freedom, I don’t.”

    360! Do it!!

  27. Well, this feedback surprised me a bit. I realize there may be a self-selection bias (I tweet 360, people who like 360-tweeting follow, and those are the ones commenting), but still, it’s encouraging to see how many people feel the same way I do about connecting with the whole person.

    I really don’t wish to get into the complexity of trying to juggle multiple personas on Twitter – seems like too much work! And the thought of being fragmented in my communications just doesn’t appeal.

    So I guess I’ll just carry on being @swoodruff, and if you all are content to filter on the receiving side, that’s great.

    Thanks so much for the great input!

  28. Hi Steve-

    “Is subscribing to a choice of info-streams for/from the same person a good idea or just a pain? What say you?”

    Less is more.

    While social media has added tremendous value in communicating our messages quickly and easily to many people, it has also increased our demand and attention to keep up.

    While I definitely see the value of single info-streams, keeping track of these multiple streams from people just adds to the list of social media “to-do’s.”

    Thoughtful question, though, for sure. 🙂

  29. Anne says:


    I have to tell you, I met you on Twitter – don’t even remember how – and I love following your stuff. You’re probably one of my favorites with your conservative, yet fun persona – and as far as the pharma stuff, when you start tweeting that I can tune it out. I agree with you that I like seeing different parts of a person on Twitter. Personally, I get bored with people that only tweet about their “guaranteed way to success” or “read my latest blog entry” but nothing about them.

    Like you say, that’s just ME. I started using Twitter as a way to get to know a broad assortment of people in advance of launching my own website/blog. And while I am hoping that the contacts I am making will help in that regards, I have so enjoyed getting to “know” some really interesting and cool people. And you are at the top of that list!

    Anne @alivenkickin

  30. This is a great post Steve. You’ve definitely hit on something many of us have had to sort out. My thinking is a little along the lines of Scott Carson’s here. While I enjoy seeing people add some personal tweets to their business tweets, I do wonder about combining two very different business personas together in one Twitter account -especially if you’re sharing informational posts alot.

    This is definitely something I’ve struggled with too. While most of my tweets are business/social media/marketing oriented, I have on occasion tweeted about something related to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) where I work now. There have been many times I’ve wanted to post links related to wildlife and nature but I was concerned I might alienate followers who are following me because of an interest in Social Media/Marketing rather than nature and wildlife. Your post and all the great comments here have given much food for thought for future decisions.

    • Robin, you’ve got your finger on the main point. I would never say there is one “right” way to use Twitter, but we have to figure out if we want to go with 90, 180, 270, or 360 degrees – and embrace the consequences.

      For instance, you share GREAT content, but I don’t know much about you outside of that. Would I like to? Yes, I would. And do I expect you to be “in alignment” with me on everything that interests you? Of course not.

      I figure that some people will like who I am and what I say, and others not – and that’s OK. I’d rather that both choices be based on (360-degree) reality.

  31. Amy Fitch says:


    I actually admire your ability to be “360” and specifically mention your unique way of managing all 3 of your personas to other social media types who are looking to blend. I enjoy learning, whether it relates to my industry or not. I have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction I’ve had with you on pharma-related topics, and have used news from Impactiviti in my daily life and conversation. I gain infinite tools from Branding Wire,and you inspire me through Steve’s Leaves. In the words of my Dad, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Keep up the good work, my Friend!

  32. Christina says:

    So many comments! You must feel so loved!

    Don’t change a thing. I found you because of my interest in pharma. I love the personal tweets that come out as well. And when you go to a pharma conference and tweet with your fellow attendees (who are often your friends) I not only enjoy the tweets, but often find other great follows!

    I was discussing this with some colleagues over the weekend. I was wondering why people follow me and how many of my tweets are actually relevant to them. I tweet about pharma, CME, meetings, exhibits, and personal stuff. So I just wonder if people follow for one topic or multiple. Oh well, either way, its a great tool to learn from.

    Please don’t change a thing. Clearly, a lot of folks would be disappointed. Happy holidays!!

  33. Jane Chin says:

    I’d prefer 360 as well!

    Steve, I find YOU the person interesting, and that includes all your interest areas. I’d rather you tweet what you care about and find interesting, than to start segmenting tweets by account. I’ve tried that and I’ve found it doesn’t really work for me. I’m into so many different things that I’d waste a lot of time segmenting my tweets.


  34. Gavin Heaton says:

    I will agree with everyone else here – but with one caveat. If you were to create a dedicated @PharmaSteve account where you channelled very focused information – then it may be something that is considered valuable by a specific community. I look at it in terms of satisfying a particular knowledge or communications need – if that means niching, then so be it.

    It sounds like your audience has spoken – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching all that you need to 😉

  35. Karen Swim says:

    Steve, a little late to the party but your question is one that I have struggled with as well. It is tough to maintain multiple accounts (I’ve done it). I follow info streams and people. Info streams are great if you plan to just auto feed posts and topical information but for conversation and connection I prefer the full monty! The lovely thing about this new age we’re in is the ability to be fully unique, no box required. I like 360 Steve and when I want specific info, I can just visit the appropriate blog.

  36. Jeanne Male says:

    Steve, thanks for starting the discussion. I’m wrestling with this alligator of an issue and still floundering around in the water but your post and so many great comments are helpful.

    Two thoughts keep coming to mind:

    1 – Maybe it’s the medium. I’m just as happy to follow those with a niche focus as those interested in a myriad of topics. I may be grateful for the information that they provide but I’m not interested in knowing people that never wear anything but their game face.

    2 – Relationship confusion and branding dilution. I don’t want to confuse or put others off by tweeting about varied interests and vocations and it’s not good for personal branding. The problem is that I don’t fit in a niche. http://joblifearchitect.com/life-satisfaction/fitting-in-vs-being-authentic/

    Lately I’ve found peace in accepting that just being me is vital to finding my right people and helping them to find me.

    P.S. I pick all the Steves.

  37. Good conversation, I like the 360 degree person also. When your looking to create authentic relationships with real people it’s nice to know a little about them.


  38. Definitely stick with the 360 view. What is the point of all these new media activities if not, ultimately, to do business? And who do you want to work with? People you know and like.

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