October 20 2014

Expressing Your Opinion Through Social Media

When is it OK? Is it ever OK?


Sure, everyone has an opinion. But let’s face it, sometimes the opinions expressed in media and/or online are downright disagreeable. Take reality tv star Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. The man has made some very controversial remarks, to the point where he was suspended from the A&E series for nine days. Just prior to the suspension the network released a statement from Robertson saying, ” [that he] would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different…”

Despite the statement and the public furor, Robertson has been undeterred. He continues to use his notoriety to speak about a number of contentious issues.

But that’s him, not you

Robertson has quite a following and despite the controversy or perhaps because of it, he seems to get away with stirring the pot.

But not all of us can afford to be so controversial. Not a day goes by when someone famous – or even not so famous – seems to be issuing an apology for something they said or something they did online.

We’re only human after all

Admittedly, there are times when we see or hear things that bother us. We want to yell at world, to tell people what we think. Social media can certainly help us to do just that. But social media can also trick us into thinking that there is strength in numbers and that others must surely share our opinions. We hide behind our computer screens and we believe we don’t really have to answer for anything we write. But online, our public and private personas are often inextricably linked. Even as private individuals we need to be mindful that we represent not only ourselves but also our employers.

So When is it OK?

As with everything, there is a time and a place. And that’s really the point – even if we think it’s a good idea, sometimes it just isn’t. You don’t always have to shy away from debate, but also know that people will push back.

Make sure that whatever you say is truly  a reflection of your values, and as with all things in life, pick your battles.

Not everything is a PR disaster

Deciding what to share publicly and what to keep private can be a hard line to draw. As a rule of thumb, if you think speaking your mind could get you into trouble, it’s better to back away from the keyboard.

Tell us: What’s the worst PR disaster you’ve ever faced?