Updated: May 29
The recent incident in Central Park involving a white woman calling the police on an African American man created a tsunami of discussions. Aside from the obvious though, one of the most interesting parts is that Amy Cooper’s employer, Franklin Templeton, took action on social media within hours of the incident trending. This is important for two reasons:
1. The company was smart to understand early on that they are in crisis. Even though it had nothing to do with their business (we all feel or that poor social media manager!) they were quick to act and disassociate themselves from the actions of the employee. Their quick thinking left them almost entirely unscathed.
2. Gone are the days when your online persona can be different from your work one. Sure, you are a different person in the office and at home (or at the park) but you are always you, and the internet is well aware. And whether it’s fair or not, for better or worse you will be associated with everything that led you to that point, including your employer.
3. Consider a Twitter user posting a racist comment while his or her profile indicate (even if not “officially” that they work for Starbucks). The “my views do not represent my employer” disclaimer on their profile will do nothing to stop the public outrage against the brand. On a positive note, if an employee in Target uniform let's say, feeds a stray animal and goes viral for a positive action, you better believe Target will claim that as positive brand imaging.
If you have the “my views don’t reflect my employer” on your bio, you can go ahead and remove it.
Before you post, ask yourself – am I comfortable with my boss reading this? This isn’t to say you can’t have political opinions or photos drinking martinis, but know that it will be associated with you and tread lightly.
If you have an anonymous account that’s great, but make sure it’s really anonymous. A photo in you in uniform from a year ago or a comment on a company employee group will help online sleuths make that connection, if they ever want to expose you.