If you are on Twitter, you know I am a fan. At a dinner with HR friends earlier this year, someone told me I am one of the most transparent people on Twitter. I guess that’s true. I see Twitter as a random stream of my consciousness and conversation where I share some things person and some things business, but what you see is really what you get. I wish everyone was like that all the time. It would make life so much more simple and refreshing. There would also be a lot of over sharing. I’ve tweeted random things about stirrup pants and working in HR. I’ve tweeted sad things like the passing of my father in law when we lost him to cancer. I’ve tweeted spiritual things when I asked people to send good karma to my mom who was in ICU. Don’t worry she made a full yet scary recovery. And I’ve tweeted joyous things like when my water broke and we brought Ryleigh into this world. You might remember these things, and maybe you don’t, but that’s why Twitter is so great. It fuels the random nature that suits me to a ‘t’.
Benefit of Adding Twitter Disclaimer to Bio
What I don’t get about Twitter is a growing trend by employers to request employees to add disclaimers to their social media profiles. Your employer doesn’t really think these disclaimers will do anything. It gives them a sense and appearance of control when there is no case law to support the trend. I hear employment law attorneys advise the practice over and over again. Disclaimers are seen in the bio of your Twitter profile meant to alert those that read your tweets to the fact that opinions, updates or mentions are made by you and not your company.
Disclaimers are important but so is an employer social media policy and training for their employees. Heck, this blog even has a disclaimer of our own outlining risk, use or intent of the information shared, distributed and for what purposes whether it be for work, humor and business purposes. I’m not an attorney although I know that its nearly impossible for a legitimate legal disclaimer to fit in 140 characters or less. Imagine if your employee handbook was written in 140 characters of less.
Here are some standard Twitter disclaimers:
- Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer
- My tweets are my own
- My opinions are my own
- Tweets are my own and should never be taken seriously
Social Media Policies or Social Media Disclaimers?
A disclaimer is the virtual equivalent of having a t-shirt or sign hung around your neck, that says, “I have an opinion but not if it means that I get fired.” It’s really a corporate noose, and in my opinion, it is entirely unnecessary. A Twitter disclaimer will not save you from your job if you tweet crappy or offensive stuff. It won’t keep a business from a lawsuit. A Twitter disclaimer gives an employer an easy out when you tweet or share some inappropriate, offensive or that doesn’t represent the corporate brand so tweet with cautiously or wind up fired because of social media.
Social media disclaimers are after all just words and are not for the employee but the employers benefit. Employers who ask for such things do not understand the purpose of or how to use social media. Your marketing team knows this, however they are making the decision to not fight this battle with the executive team or business leader who came up with the brilliant idea for employees to add a disclaimer. Personally, I think if an employee has a social media disclaimer, it’s likely a red flag to a prospective employees that if they want to have an opinion on social media, they should run very far away from the company.
Social media provides individuals a platform to build an audience like never before. Individuals have power. They can share their updates and information in real time that’s forever recorded on the internet. But if disclaimers give your attorney and boss some peace, I say why not, but make that disclaimer your own. Here are some examples or you can use a tool to make your own.
- My employer got this Twitter disclaimer & all I got was this lousy t-shirt
- Free speech doesn’t pay the bills. Tweets don’t represent employer
- Opinions are also those of my employers. They just don’t know it yet
- These opinions are my own and not of the imaginary man in the sky
- The man may keep me down but opinions are my own
Unlike employers asking for Facebook and other social media passwords which more states are making the practice illegal, adding a Twitter disclaimer is completely up to you. How would you react if your employer asked you to add a disclaimer to your Twitter bio.