Freedom of Speech: Your Social is Not Tied To Your Employer

It’s 2017. You do not need to provide a disclaimer in your social media bios that “your thoughts are your own.” Duh.

I’ve talked before about how risky behavior on social media is often discouraged, even if it means speaking up for what you believe in. Personally, I’m all for communicating as openly as possible. That is, after all, how we share ideas.

It makes sense that a new employee, now affiliated with a company and a corporate brand, wants to protect themselves from any concerns that their personal beliefs might be associated with their employer in a negative light.

Well, for one, a brief disclaimer in your bio ain’t gonna do much.

Two, you shouldn’t have to explain that your beliefs are your own. That should be implied. Everyone has the right to their own digital identity, and no employer can deny you that. Your thoughts have always been your own and will always be your own.

Hopefully, your employer is one that you identify with. You strongly believe in the mission and values, so your personal beliefs might be pretty similar. Still, they shouldn’t be completely.

Those of us especially in marketing, PR, and communications are encouraged to develop our personal brands. The issue with being too connected with your employer is that you may begin to gravitate to be more like their brand and less like yourself.

It’s 2017. You’re not going to stay with that employer forever.

Even if you did land your dream job at your dream company, you still have your own unique voice. You were most definitely not hired to be a brainless suck-up that abides by everything “the man” says. Everything is still questionable and debatable.

If you feel limited by your employer, ask yourself if you actually feel restrained by them or by your own self. If it is your employer, either get the hell out now, or talk with your manager. If it’s just you wanting to post Instagram Stories doing illegal things, check yo’ self.

However, if it is yourself, reflect on why you feel your own personal voice isn’t enough. Maybe your confidence hasn’t reached its full potential yet.

Always be thoughtful on social media, because there will always be a trace of everything, but don’t be afraid to take risks. Speak your mind, but don’t be an asshole. That’s our First Amendment, after all.

++ Mary K

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