This letter is to anyone who uses or reads blogs and social media sites and the companies for whom you work. Sadly, it seems that we’ve all taken leave of our common sense and it’s causing some ridiculousness in the interweb. Over the past several years, it’s become common practice for people to place a disclaimer in their twitter provide or blog bio that reads “The opinions expressed here are my own and not that of my employer.”
This is stupid. There, I said. Stupid. Not on the part of the person who put it on their bio because I understand why they do it (I’ve been one of them in the past), but stupid because we’ve come to believe that the rest of the world requires a disclaimer to realize that a twitter account or any other social media account is going to be a place where individuals express their own opinions.
For one, we all know that no one person’s comments expresses the opinions of an employer or organziation unless you are a paid spokesperson or a CEO (and even that doesn’t mean you are totally aligned). We, the consumers of the said opinions, are pretty good at knowing what represents an organization and what doesn’t. If a professional football player on the 49ers tweets something out that is inflammatory, silly or just a plain old dumb thing to say, we know that he’s not speaking on behalf of the 49ers. We don’t need someone to break it down for us.
But, I didn’t write this email to whine. I come bearing solutions. To eliminate the need for this disclaimer today and forever more simply requires us to make a few agreements up front to ensure we are all on the same page.
Always assume that any opinion expressed anywhere online is the opinion of the person that wrote it. Period. When someone says something stupid, it’s because they are stupid, not their employer or organization.