My New Terms of Service

It’s been a while since I posted to either of my blogs for a combination of reasons. One is being deeply immersed in doing the work that informs what I write about. The other, more difficult to describe, is grappling with something I’ll call “good internet citizenship.”

I work in technology—for the last dozen or so years at publicly traded companies. The deeper I dive into social media and online discourse, the more I realize the repercussions injudicious sharing can have.

While serving as Marketing Communications Director years ago for a publicly traded high tech company I went through formal media/PR training and had it drummed into me that information made public has to be disclosed equally. When this CFO lost his job for indiscreet tweeting I wasn’t surprised.

Investors, stock market bulletin boards, and chat rooms sometimes engage in a kind of Kremlinology for which offhand comments on Twitter and blog posts can easily become fodder.

Of course I know the rules about “quiet period.” It’s like Fight Club—you can’t talk about Quiet Period.  Not to mention signed non-disclosure agreements standard in our industry. So what about tweeting where I’m traveling? Industry gossip? Or my experience at a previous company that just went through a very public, very painful power struggle?

Although I’m gregarious both in real life and online, I know that I don’t have the luxury of making choices for myself alone. I am part of something bigger: a company, with management, colleagues, shareholders, and customers to whom I am responsible.

“The better part of valor is discretion,” said Shakespeare’s Falstaff, but does that mean that I can’t have a voice in the extremely exciting developments going on with the fields in which I have expertise?

I’ve been mulling these questions over and have come up with the following “Terms of Service.” I promise to abide by my end of the ethical bargain, and the following is what, dear reader, I expect from you.

Terms of Service:

  • My opinions are my own and don’t reflect the views of my employer, professional associations, family, or condo association.
  • What catches my eye is just that, what catches my eye. I’m not sending secret messages in code. Period.
  • If I have inside knowledge of good news about any publicly traded company (employer, ex-employer, customer, etc.) I can’t tell you. If I know bad news about same, I can’t tell you.
  • I will use language sometimes—usually quoting someone else—that you might not want your grandmother or grandchild to hear, consider yourself warned.

Acceptable use policy: you may use my blog posts, tweets, writing to make you think. You are welcome to agree, disagree, applaud and/or debate. You are welcome to share and exchange ideas with others.

______________________________________________________

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to catch up on!

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