Should PR folks be sharing their political viewpoints on Facebook?
Yesterday, I posted a simple status update on my Facebook profile:
The response was quite surprising. First, 67 people took the time to comment. Remember, this is my personal page. I’m not a celebrity or political figure. Just a guy with some friends on Facebook. And many of those 67 left LONG, well-reasoned comments.
Clearly, the post had struck a chord with people. And, obviously, it was timely, too.
But, as I suspected, people had all sorts of views. Here’s a smattering of some of the more interesting comments:
The “if someone chose not to work with me because of my political views, then I wouldn’t want to work with them” view was fairly common in the thread. But, it’s a viewpoint that’s convenient, I believe, in some cases. What if you’re desperate for work? Are you going to stick with those guns then? How far does that mentality go?
Note Jason Keath’s comment above–and Shelly’s response. That was another common theme that came through. Many people saying, basically, they simply don’t care. That politics trumps business success, in this case. My response to this: Why do we HAVE to share our every thought (including our political viewpoints) on Facebook? Can’t some beliefs be kept to ourselves? I share a ton on Facebook–photos of my kids, ideas on our industry. But, I don’t share my religious or political views. Does that mean I’m not committed to the cause?
Really liked this comment from Holly Jo–especially the quote at the tail-end. Well said, Holly Jo.
Todd has been fairly outspoken about his political views on Facebook. And, I admire that about him. He stands up for what he believes in. It’s not for me, and I think it would cost me business if I did the same thing (and later in the thread, Todd said he believes his views have cost him business), but like I said, I admire people who do it well–and Todd definitely falls into that camp for me.
The front half of Jason’s comment sums up exactly where I fall on this. I don’t discuss politics with my clients face-to-face–so why would I do it on Facebook? I’m sure others on this thread do discuss politics with clients–but I don’t. I think that’s a personal decision, but for me, that just feels a bit too risky (unless you’re absolutely positive you know someone’s political views before starting the discussion–and even then I probably wouldn’t do it).
Some folks, like Christopher Pollard, took the online reputation angle. I’m more of a blurry-line guy myself, but I know a lot of people compartmentalize their platforms the way Christopher is suggesting here.
Prudent approach here my Stephanie Smirnov, who keeps it pretty close to the vest, but also does share with friends/clients she has chosen as “friends” on Facebook. (also, love the [shakes cane] reference at the tail end).
As I said above, my personal decision here has been largely to NOT share my political views on Facebook with friends and family. I just think it’s too risky from a business point of view. I do have strong beliefs. And I think I’m a pretty opinionated person. But, I also think that just because I don’t share those beliefs publicly (which is what you’re doing on Facebook, let’s be honest), that doesn’t mean they’re not extremely important to me.
I grew up in a house where my family didn’t talk about politics all that much. I never really knew who my parents were voting for. They didn’t tell me–and I didn’t ask. That was kind of our philosophy. So, that’s the background I’m coming at this with. My personal family view is just a little different, but largely, I keep most of my political views to myself (outside of a small group of family and friends).
What about you? If you work in the PR business, have you shared your political views with friends and family on Facebook this year? If yes, have you seen any backlash as a result? Do you think it impacts you–and your firm’s–reputation or business?
Would love to hear more thoughts on this topic…