Many years ago I read a quote from Bill Gates regarding a hard lesson he learned from a court case against Microsoft that he lost: “Don’t put anything in an email that you don’t want the whole world to see.”
I’d like to expand his warning to all my friends on social media.
Unless your paid position is to offer your opinions, you would be extremely wise to keep yours off of social media, especially if you are employed by a company. Your personal opinion on any topic is certainly your right to express, but it has great potential to jeopardize your job.
Every day I see postings from friends and family who seemingly have no idea how potentially dangerous their opinions are to their livelihood. Here’s an example from a TV broadcaster: Click here.
You may think you are protected by your free speech. The opposite is true; you are exposed.
If your opinion is an embarrassment for your employer to the point that they have to answer for your “take on the world,” you’re going to be in a world of trouble.
I’m reminded of what I learned in the first week of basic training in the U.S. Navy. When you wear the uniform of the United States Navy, you represent the entire Navy. That meant that anything you did in uniform reflected on your entire organization.
You can argue until the cows come back to the barn about your right to say what you want; I’m just not sure you recognize the consequences that go along with that right. Imagine explaining to your family that the reason you lost your job and possibly your career was because you felt compelled to offer your opinion on Facebook.
For you, social media may serve as a projection of your ideas but it offers you no protection if what you say is detrimentally projected onto your whole organization.
I would never tell you not to express yourself; just be aware that “free speech” can be costly.
All the best,
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