Opinions Expressed Here are My Own (An Open Letter to Everyone)

Opinions Expressed Here are My Own (An Open Letter to Everyone) 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Dear Everyone,

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.

To Everyone:
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.

To Individuals (Users of the Web):
If you identify yourself as working for someone in your bio or username, you had better be aware that any thing you say can be interpreted as a reflection of your employer.  And, if you say something dumb or inappropriate enough, they should fire you for it.  So, think before you type.  And don’t be pissed when you get fired if you are in the habit of saying stupid things.
To Companies:
First off, loosen up.  Refer to the my earlier comments and recognize that we know when someone has gone off the grid.  We know that stupid people work for good companies.  We can sort this out for ourselves.  Quit freaking out all the time about social media.  We are way smarter than you give us credit for.  Second, if you are going to be so sensitive about what people say about you, do some homework before you hire someone to see if they are in the habit of being stupid online.  If they are, don’t hire them.  Only hire people who you are comfortable with having their opinions associated with your brand.  Then, leave them alone to live the online social lives.  
There it is.  Simple.  If we all can just get a hold of ourselves and return to a little common sense, we can send these silly disclaimers the way of the dinosaur.  Let’s get it together, folks.  We are better than this.  
Jason Lauritsen

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