I used to include a “my views don’t represent my employer” disclaimer in my Twitter profile. I removed it after Scott Stratten made a great point during his talk at the 2014 CPRS National Summit: those disclaimers don’t mean anything. The public will still associate you and your tweets with your employer—especially if you work in public relations—but you’re likely to think of it as a get out of jail free card, potentially tweet irresponsibly and then point at the disclaimer if you get called out on it.
I’ve been without a disclaimer for about 8 months now, and I certainly think more carefully before I tweet since removing it.
I still tweet about politics, and I’m still sometimes a sarcastic ass on Twitter, but I’m much more careful about what I put online. When I worked for the City of Edmonton, I was careful not to post much about municipal politics (or City projects). Now I’m careful not to post much about education (particularly the provincial politics side of things). Rather than spouting off and claiming that my opinions don’t represent those of my employer, I simply refrain from tweeting about things that could get me in trouble with my employer—or which could get my employer in trouble with its publics.
Exactly what you will and will not tweet about while working for a particular organization is a personal call (which may be influenced by organizational social media policies). I’m not going to tell you how to make that call. But I do recommend removing your disclaimer. Having one creates a false sense of security and won’t protect you if you say something stupid.
One thought on “Why I Removed the Disclaimer from my Twitter Profile”
There’s a balance, I believe, because no employer has the right to stop you from expressing yourself as a private citizen. The latter requires discretion, of course. But having an employer is not and shouldn’t be a gag order for employees who wish to participate in public discourse.