Could Blogging Ever Be a Negative Thing?

Paper in typewriter listing BlogBy now we, as PR professionals, understand the dangers of social media when it comes to speaking your mind in the blogosphere, Twitterverse, or any other strange word that someone has coined to describe an online space. We know that talking smack about your boss on Facebook can get you fired and that it might be a wise idea to make your profile private if you plan on posting a lot of pictures of you drinking yourself into oblivion. Armed with this knowledge, an overwhelming amount of professionals are finding SOME way to make their mark in the social media world, even if it’s just so that something positive shows up when their name is Googled.

However, it occurred to me the other day (as I was thanking my lucky stars to have found an employer who is so supportive of creativity and individuality) that there could be another danger.I was considering the possibility that expressing yourself through a public medium such as a blog MIGHT not always be the beneficial activity that we believe it is. What if your views on an industry-related topic conflicted with your employer’s?  Or perhaps even more consequential, your potential employer’s?  Even if you’re one of those people who make sure to clarify that your views are not necessarily those of your employer, the effects of this awkward situation might still be something that you have to deal with.

For example, say that you’re applying to work for an agency that specializes in consumer products and relies heavily on blogger outreach for media coverage. What would the implications be if you wrote a post in support of a blogger’s right to keep any form of compensation private, while the agency was very strict about keeping in compliance with all FTC regulations?  Would they think twice about hiring someone with such opposing views? (For the record, this is not a post about this issue).

Coming at this from another angle, I’ve seen a lot of agencies who are extremely reluctant to let their employees freely participate in social media, whether it be out of jealously or fear of another kind. Could being active on social media (maybe you’re even a Twilebrity!) limit your options of places to work?

I know that I’m posing a lot of questions, but I’m not sure I have the answers, and I was hoping to hear some thoughts from all of you. Have you ever experienced something like this?  Have you ever been reluctant to share an opinion online for this very reason? And on a more intense level, I ask you this- would you even CONSIDER working for an agency that didn’t embody your values or support your social media activities?

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