This isn’t a new thing, but there are more and more professionals (and you may take that word with as much weight as you like) who put this disclaimer on their Twitter page, Facebook or whatever other time-wasting watering hole for trite exists these days. “The opinions expressed are my own and not of my [employer, goat-sacrifice-accepting-deity etc…]” The idea is that no matter what I say, only I should be held responsible for what was said and not the people who help me pay bills.
But that’s not how it works does it?
The truth of the matter is that no matter what kind of disclaimer, warning, magic spell, enchanted stick figure you affix to your name, what you say can and always will be used. For you or against you depends on who’s ire or approval you’ve aroused. Arouse deeply enough in either direction and plenty of it will spill onto third parties even remotely associated with your name.
The internet is a magical pixieland with mounds for domains wherein each cluster of pixies hang out in popular mounds to spew and absorb whatever the firehose of kitty pics and strife that piques their fancy has to offer. [Most] people don’t like drama unless they’re third party observers (there’s a reason TV shows about women who have everything, including plastic faces, bickering over manufactured drama is popular).
The takeaway from all that build-up is simply this: What you say will spill over to who you associate, be it employers, friends or the like. You can choose to blog/tweet/share under a pseudonym (made more annoying lately by Google and Facebook’s real name policies), which is something I’ve decided to give up since Ghostnetworks went bust, or you can avoid any mention of your employer. How deeply it will affect them, as mentioned previously, will depend on who’s taken interest in you and in what form.
There’s a reason the name of my current employer or my boss’ name (who I affectionately refer to as “Boss” on Twitter) isn’t listed on Facebook (the info is several years obsolete), Twitter or this blog. Unless someone really spends the time and effort to hunt through my information, I can plausibly deny who I work for. Therefore what I express can not only be mine, the consequences for what I say really are limited to myself as well.