Raz Chorev | Socially Acceptable..
online presence, Personal Branding, Social media

Free Speech Vs. Personal Branding

This morning I read this article in Digital Media, which really intrigued me. The story was about an experienced columnist, Catherine Deveny,  tweeting from a live event. Despite writing great articles for her publication (The Age) for a number of years, the publication has decided to terminate her employment because of one (!) controversial tweet.

In explaining the decision to sack Deveney, The Age’s Editor-In-Chief, Paul Ramadge, said:

“We are appreciative of the columns Catherine has written for The Age over several years but the views she has expressed recently on Twitter are not in keeping with the standards we set at The Age”.

Towards the end of the article, and I quote :

Whilst many would claim that social media sackings impinge on free speech, the litany

of incidents suggest that anyone using Twitter or Facebook as a form of self expression should think twice before sending out that controversial or cutting remark.

The web has given “free speech” a whole new meaning: more people can now express their views publicly! That’s a good thing! But no one ever said that Free Speech have no implications. You won’t get arrested for broadcasting your controversial views (as long as you don’t break other laws), but if your

Free Speech

Image by Fresh Conservative via Flickr

views are not in line with the company who hired you, or the organization looking to hire you – you won’t get to keep your job or get hired. In the free world, companies are also free to make a decision about an individual. When you express your views, freely, not everyone’s gonna like them. Whether you do it online or offline!

The main difference is – what you say online, will always be found on Google. ALWAYS! Even if the website or webpage is no longer available, the comment, or remark, or tweet will be cached (or stored) forever!

Today’s teenagers will have a lot to explain to their future employers about their Facebook or other online activities. Their personal brand will be tarnished forever, and sometime (due to “tagging”) out of their control.

In a recent “online presence” presentation, someone asked me how they can make sure other people won’t tag you in a compromising position (drunk, disorderly, etc…). My answer was short, but harsh: “Don’t get yourself in that situation!”

You are the only one who can control your actions. And your actions might find their way online.

Have a good weekend 😉

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  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    Hey Raz,

    For whatever I publish online, the first filter I use is to ask: “Would I be okay with this being published on the front page of the national newspaper?”

    This is a very strict filter for *everything* I post – blog articles, in Facebook, on Twitter, in ‘private’ lists, profile information, in videos, in comments – in everything.

    That’s why there is no record of my personal life or family life online. It’s just a personal view and it works for me. It would be interesting to read what others do.

    Best, Robin :)

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Thanks Robin for your input!
      It’s interesting to see how people can still manage to keep part of their lives private, while having an active online presence! This is a conversation I hear a lot, and I know it worries many people.
      Would be interesting to hear how other people manage their own online presence, and keeping some things private.

      Cheers
      Raz

  • Damian Vanderwolf

    Cool article – a great conversation starter – thanks Raz! Lots of food for thought! I have had many discussions with friends regarding this very topic. It definitely gets the synapses sparking!

    My thinking:
    Does it potenially mean that we move towards a more tolerant and open society? I hope it does. With people (young and old) being more open about there life and lifestyle choices, could we see a future where people are seen as multi-faceted beings, where personailty is not viewed as being stagnant but fluid and plural?

    Many of the young people participating openly in social media now will be employers of the future. Is it possible that this could lead to a more understanding workplace? Could it also mean that workplace cultural matches will be more successful? I hope so.

    How do I keep my ‘secrets’? I keep my Facebook profile visible to friends only. I don’t connect with people on Facebook or LinkedIn unless I have met them. I am relatively new to Twitter and am less stringent there. I don’t generally post about my whereabouts or provide too much detail in my profile though. In general, I try to keep mindful of the possible drawbacks. Other than these measures, I let it flow!

    I agree that as adoptors of social media, we should have our eyes wide open to potential future uses and we need to participate accordingly. With this in mind, I am an advocate of a more open, expressive world!

    Thanks again Raz – a great topic!

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Damian, I like the way you think Social Networking may lead to a more open and tolerant society. I really hope you’re right!
      I also agree with you, that the young people experimenting now with Social Media, will be the employers of the future. Some of them will become employers by necessity – based on their online activity, they’ll find it hard to be accepted as employees!

      It seems that you understand potential drawbacks, which is great! Yet, “here’s to a more open, expressive world”!!

  • http://happyrain.org/ Emily

    Damian, I like the way you think Social Networking may lead to a more open and tolerant society. I really hope you’re right!
    I also agree with you, that the young people experimenting now with Social Media, will be the employers of the future. Some of them will become employers by necessity – based on their online activity, they’ll find it hard to be accepted as employees!

    It seems that you understand potential drawbacks, which is great! Yet, “here’s to a more open, expressive world”!!

  • http://snapwebmarketing.com Karri Flatla

    Hey Raz :)

    Social media – as it looks today – is bringing to light what’s always been true about the Internet: nothing said digitally is air tight. NOTHING.

    Be careful whom you reveal things to – in a PM or DM or email or by any other digital means. It’s all shareable. Ask yourself: how likely is the unlikely event that this person might “share” what was intended to be private?

    It’s like a leaked email that breaks an otherwise underground scandal wide open. Except now we have much “leakier” systems for sharing information, um, because now pretty much everything is EXPECTED to be shared.

    Now, as a Gen Xer with kids, I readily admit: I’m a little more than mildly concerned about the implications. And I suspect this Gen Y culture of exhibitionism may contribute to the attitude of journalists or rogue reporters who feel comfy enough to push aside judgment in the name of “I have a right to say WHATEVER I want.”

    Yep. You sure do.

    You also have a right to experience the “social” consequences of your “share.”

    Interesting discussion.
    Cheers,
    Karri

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Hey Karri
      thanks for your input! I agree we all have the right to say whatever we want. We just need to remember (or be reminded later) that there will be consequences. We sort of know this when we talk offline. When we say things online, it will stay online forever! Google NEVER forgets, and people can find your online comments 5, 15 or even 40 years from now. Make sure you’ll be comfortable with it.

      Cheers
      Raz

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