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Your Tweets Are Not Your Own And You Will Get Fired For Them

I’m shocked that public figures are still getting fired for what they say and do on the internet. Especially people who work in media. Sure, Pax Dickinson, brogrammer extraordinaire, was just CTO over at Business Insider, but this is a publication for the internet and of the internet. Someone there should have told him to put a sock in it — just blocking him is not enough for a news pub.

Gannett’s social media policy was posted on Romenesko yesterday. Perhaps they were shocked, too, and thought it was time for a refresher. Read it. Basically, anything you post can and will be held against you. I think that’s fair policy for media people. The rub for us is that while it’s all held against you, you don’t have the right to remain silent, either.

Like probably having to work weekends and holidays, the lack of delineation between our personal and professional digital selves is part of the job. It’s about being your own brand. From the Gannett policy:

Remember that social networks are forms of public expression and should be used for strategic reasons to enhance your journalism, engage your community of followers, enlighten your news outlet’s audience, and promote your news organization’s brand in a positive way. Like other forms of public expression – attending political demonstrations, voicing opinions on a talk show, making political campaign contributions – they are subject to the limitations that are placed on newsroom employees through the Principles of Ethical Conduct. These are designed to maintain credibility with the reader.

Putting “all tweets are my own” or some spin on that in might help you if you need to make a case for being fired for something you said, but it doesn’t protect you. So use the characters to make your bio more interesting. Especially if you’re employed by a news publication, your tweets are not yours. They belong to the digital strategy and marketing team. Don’t you know that nothing is proprietary on the interwebs?

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