Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Reality Check: All views are my own

October 19th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Social Media

It’s interesting to see how many people add phrasing like: “all views expressed here are my own and don’t reflect the views of my employer” on their Twitter biography.

It’s especially interesting to see PR people including it.

Why is it interesting you may (rightly) ask?

imageWell because nothing is further from the truth.

If you’re a Public Relations practitioner (and you could argue any employee) and you’re tweeting, then it’s all on the record.

I’m not debating if this is right or wrong, I’m just pointing out the reality.

Next up: Why adding “RT isn’t an endorsement” to your bio makes no sense, because a RT is an implicit endorsement (unless you happen to add some sarcastic commentary – and in that case refer to the first point).

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Tac Anderson

    Having worked at a PR agency there were just some topics I stayed away from. When you work for or at say, really large tech companies, it is impossible to avoid every topic related to said companies, I just always thought “would I want a reporter or an executive at my client to see that post?” If not I just kept my commentary to myself. (You don’t actually have to tweet everything that comes to your mind.)

    Even when I worked at HP, I likewise stayed away from posting about competitors and only posted about my employer when it was directly relevant to my audience (aka friends). Even with clients I often resisted the request to help announce a new launch, product, whatever, unless it was relevant and then only with the proper disclosures.

    I did, however, have the line in my bio “opinions are not my own but are those of the voices in my head” for a while, but I hoped the sarcasm was evident.

  • Tom Murphy

    Sound practice in these days of always-on, always-connected communications :)

  • Stephen Newton

    An employee’s views may be on the record, but that doesn’t mean they are shared by their employer and it’s perfectly reasonable to point that out to avoid confusion.

    It’s also more than likely that two people with the same employer will occasionally hold views so different, they couldn’t possibly both be held by the employer.

    Employees have a right to a private life and to hold opinions of their own. In any case very few employees are empowered to determine their employer’s position on any issue; including PR people whose role is more usually assisting senior management in the formation of public policy, rather than setting that policy in isolation and then imposing it upon the business.

    That said, if you speak for employer it is probably best to keep private views on relevant issues quiet, or risk being undermined later.

    Similarly the idea that retweeting is an endorsement is rather silly. You may be simply sharing some news you think your followers will be interested in. You may wish to alert followers to what you regard as an opponent’s nonsense. You may be linking to a complex thought piece, some of which you agree with, some not, but that you think is worth reading on the whole.

  • Tom Murphy

    Hi Stephen, Those are great points and I broadly agree with you in THEORY. However, as an individual, the reality of social media is often different, and it’s rarely nuanced. From the perspective of the PR practitioner this is a real and important issue to consider. Just putting a disclaimer on your Twitter bio doesn’t insure you against people making the connection between you and your employer. Similarly, I completely agree that an RT when people think about it, isn’t necessarily an endorsement, but it can be perceived as such. Therefore I think my point stands if you’re working in PR and Social Media you need to consider how people will perceive your ‘personal’ commentary and link sharing. It may not be right, or make sense, but it’s often (sadly) a reality. Thanks again Tom

  • Cameron

    I personally think doing that is a great idea. It emphasizes that the ideas you post on your twitter are your own and not your employers. It keeps your job and your social networking spate and reduces the chance of any misunderstandings that could arise.

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