Social media disclaimers don’t get you off the hook

Your Twitter disclaimer says your tweets and opinions are your own, so what you say won’t affect your employer, right? Wrong. It’s time to take responsibility.

I’ve noticed that some employees put disclaimers on their Twitter and Facebook profiles.

Some statements read along the lines of, “I am employed at A Place That Puts Food on the Table, but these are my opinions and my opinions alone. They do not reflect my employer.”

Two things:

1. Uh, yes they do.

2. Who cares about your employer? Employers are temporary. Everything you do—and tweet and opine—reflects you as a person. You may need employment in the future. Learn to protect you.

Your disclaimer pretty much declared you are not responsible for your own actions.

Hello. I am reality. Have we met?

Like it or not, you can’t control something just by declaring you have imaginary protection. That’s like saying, “I live in this imaginary bubble. Respect it.”

Just because you close your eyes during a game of hide-and-seek doesn’t mean people can’t see you. (Use of double negative means yes, one can find you even though your eyes are closed.)

I find it quite naïve to think one can compartmentalize his or her life. I would love to be a marathoner in the morning, small business owner during the day and comedian at night, but I can’t clock out from one assignment to another. Humans are communal by nature. Everything we do affects somebody else. Every action we take affects all other actions.

I cannot smoke during the day or live on an ice cream diet (I wish!), and expect for all to be OK come 5 a.m. the next day. You can’t say:

“I was eating ice cream and smoking it up between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m, but it shouldn’t affect me as a runner. I was in business mode. Learn to keep track, metabolism! Those calories and decisions were mine (as a stressed business professional) alone, not the runner’s.”

Or this:

“Dear allergies, I’ve got a big day tomorrow, so only affect me after 8 p.m. That would be great. Thanks!”

Or this:

“Let’s call sodas diet. Surely the word ‘diet’ will give them nutritional value.”

A few guidelines to consider when engaging in social media (and life):

  • Live like your life will appear on TMZ. If you want attention, go out and get it. There is a built-in audience for you. If you don’t, keep your knees together when exiting a car and put on some Underoos.
  • You are a reflection of your investors (family, friends, teachers, employers) and they expect a big return.
  • Like it or not, you are somebody’s role model. Deal with it, Charles Barkley.

Sorry to pop your imaginary protective bubble, but sometimes it’s best to tell the emperor he is not wearing clothes. Yes, we see your opinions, and they are a reflection of you (as an employee, gender, sports lover, coupon clipper, etc.) in every way.

P.S. These words are mine as a blogger and a blogger alone. They do not reflect the brain that thinks and the hands that wrote this. In your face, responsibility!

Nora Frost is a diplomat and influencer by nature, and is enterprising her passion into, a business specializing in public relations and marketing. Follow her on Twitter @NoraFrost or @DosCulturas.

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