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I Wish I Knew Who You Were, And Who You Worked For (Automatically)

Lots of people have multiple accounts on Twitter, for various reasons. I can’t tell you the number of times I get a message from somebody out of the blue and I’ll think, “Hey, I know you, don’t I?”

But who is it?

Some detective work later, I figure out that the reason I know this person is because I’m following one of their other accounts. Perhaps their business account. Maybe their personal one. What bugs me about this is I might have a friendly relationship with this person on one of their accounts, but have no idea who they are on another. Or even that they have another.

What I’d like Twitter to offer (and this would be entirely opt-in) is a way for multiple accounts to be linked together. This would be great for businesses that have main accounts and lots of additional ones for their staff. Like Twitter themselves, for example. When you visit the Twitter profile, all their employees should be right there, too. With titles and responsibilities. And if I stumble across an individual employee, it shows that they’re linked to Twitter.

(Think Twitter + LinkedIn.)

Some people do this now in their bios, but it’s kinda awkward, and doesn’t translate well into manageable data.

It could even work a bit like a newsfeed, with one main account pulling the updates from everybody else. So, if I wanted to really follow Google, for example, an @GoogleTeam user could be setup so that everybody who worked for the company could be followed via that one account. The different users would feed in and I could reply to them accordingly.

(Think Twitter + RSS.)

And it wouldn’t have to stop at businesses. Participants in sports teams could link together, as well as social groups and other clubs. You could start your own tribe.

(It might even come with privacy. You could direct message everybody in your tribe with one click. Wouldn’t that be convenient?)

As it is, it’s awkward to find out all the people that work for any corporation on Twitter. I’ve been trying to do this for Twitter themselves, and Dave Winer is doing some great work with his 100twt project. (Check out what the people who work for the New York Times are saying.)

I’d like to see it automated. I think it benefits businesses and customers, which is rare enough to make it very worthwhile.

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