There is no shortage of opinions about the recent U.S. election, or about the Brexit vote, or about Europe’s influx of refugees, or about the situation in the Middle East, or about any number of other political controversies. You likely have your own opinions on these topics and you are certainly entitled to them. The question is, should you share your political opinions on your professional social media channels?
What about your thoughts on other delicate matters like religion and sex?
Consider a recent example.
The CEO of a certain large corporation (we won’t say which one) holds some rather strong and negative views of a certain political candidate (again, not saying which one.) Rather than keeping these views to himself, the CEO makes them public on the company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. No doubt some people agree with his views. Others do not. In fact, many others do not. There are calls to boycott the company’s products and its stock price has plunged.
“But wait!” you say. “Don’t I have freedom of speech? Can’t I say whatever I want?” Of course you do, and of course you can. You also get to live with the consequences of that speech. And if you’re in business, those consequences may include alienating your customers and associates.
The same caution about sharing your views on politics applies to sharing your views on religion and sex. Some people will agree with you and may even be moved to do business with you when they otherwise would not have. Others will disagree with you and may choose to take their business elsewhere. They have their freedom of choice just as you do.
Unless your business is politics, religion, or sex, you are wise to keep your views on politics, religion, and sex off your professional channels.
This does not mean that anything and everything else is suitable content. You may have a passion for Matryoshka dolls — Russian nesting dolls — but if your business is automotive parts, keep the dolls off your business channel.
So how can you give voice to your passions without compromising your professional reputation? You can set up a personal channel, one you keep separate — completely separate — from your professional activity. Even then, you may want to keep your more strongly held views to yourself. People will find both, and they will make the connection.
Yes, you have freedom of speech. You can hold whatever views you like and you can express them as loudly as you like. Just be prepared to face the consequences.