Are your personal tweets hurting your company's brand?
I saw this tweet today and, as someone who has managed employee communications for some large, worldwide companies, I thought it was good fodder for a conversation. I'm not sure if these two people in the tweet were just joking or if they really didn't understand why someone would write "all tweets are my own" in their Twitter bio. For the sake of argument, let's assume the latter.
As people utilize social media to put all their opinions out into the world, companies and smart employees are becoming ever more vigilant in protecting their digital footprints. As an employee, if you put your employer's name in your Twitter bio, you should very seriously consider putting a disclaimer similar to the one above. It protects you and the business who writes your paycheck.
Suppose I say in my Twitter bio that I work for Disney (I don't, but I'll happily listen to any job offers!). Then, in one of my tweets, I use some foul language, send a link to a YouTube video with lap dancers, or check in at Knott's Berry Farm on Foursquare. That reflects on my company. I work for them and my tweets have an impact on their brand. Employees represent the values and culture of a business, after all. My public behavior, and especially my conduct on the Web, can have ripple affects in the workplace.
Now, let's take this issue one step further and to another platform. I recently had lunch with a peer who said they had a problem with an employee who put product designs, which were still in development, on their Facebook page. Yes, the person was probably just excited to share his work with his friends. However, this put the company at risk. Releasing the company's plans--and designs--out into the public before the product launch could empower a competitor to develop a similar product. It could also have a serious effect on the company's profits and stockholders.
In this new world of social media, remember, the world is watching! If you say you're affiliated with a brand, your behavior may be scrutinized more closely. For those who don't like to edit themselves prior to tweeting, tread carefully. Making it clear that your opinions do not represent your company's can sometimes be a good idea.
My personal recommendation, however, would be to always use great care and discretion on your social media accounts. Refrain from saying anything that could reflect poorly on you or your employer. A reputation takes a lifetime to build and only minutes to destroy.
What do you think? Do you put your employer's name in your Twitter bio? If not, why? If so, do you have a disclaimer that separates your actions from those of your employer?