Personal opinion v business opinion

Living in Nottinghamshire and being in public relations I could not help watching the recent Channel 4 series, Coppers. I was keen to see how the programme portrayed our local police force and how the public reacted to it as well.

As you would expect Twitter was awash with comments and the hash tag #coppers had a strong following. It was here that I came across a comment from a Virtual PA who has a profile that reads “VirtualPA, marketing exec, HR manager.” Now I know people tend to add their disclaimers about views being their own (which this lady did not) but at what point, as viewers, are we really expected to separate our take on her comments from her a as promoter of her professional services on Twitter? I would argue it’s not possible, although as you will see later, she clearly disagrees with me.

I shan’t name the person but for the sake of this blog I’ll call her Miss V. Judging from her tweets Miss V is very supportive of the police and has little time for people that cause them problems. So much so that she asked “why were they allowed to breed?” – this was the comment that brought about our twitter conversation as I replied to her: my response being that it is a freedom on which this country was built.

Within minutes she had launched into a tirade of abuse that would have been worthy of a football terrace argument. Littering her tweets with misconceptions, allegations and potentially libellous accusations she carried on seemingly oblivious to the fact that others could read her tweets.

On a personal and professional level I have no issue whatsoever in a person defending their opinion and position; indeed like Voltaire I would defend that right no matter how I disagreed with the point being made. 

What I do disagree with completely is the erroneous belief that you can enter into a debate in a public forum, be wearing the colours of your professional brand and expect others not to judge your professional standing as a result.

 To prove the point, other twitters started commenting on the “conversation” with one even correcting Miss V on her typing skills and grammar – not a good advert for a PA I would argue.

We all live professional and personal lives that should remain separate and distinct – especially where comments and opinions are concerned; to blur the two is simply asking for trouble.

 Miss V may believe her clients are very happy with her work but I wonder how happy they would be in being associated with someone who argues on the biggest public platform available with language I was far more used to hearing down the pit?

I wonder how many of her clients are following her tweets or she theirs? I also wonder how many people who could have read her comments would have decided there and then on no account would they be contracting with her?

 If you want to use twitter freely to express your personal views especially if they are in any way contentious or inflammatory like Miss V’s, then please do the sensible thing and set up a “personal” Twitter account. You can even create a mystery alias to hide behind if you wish – that way you won’t risk damaging your professional public relations, scaring off potential new clients or making yourself look like a complete twonk!

 The above views are of course my own, and I stand by them in private and as a professional advisor. I will be happy to supply anyone wanting a full transcript of the conversation with one. And if you do need the services of a Virtual PA, I know a very good one; but it’s NOT Miss 

 

Living in Nottinghamshire and being in public relations I could not help watching the recent Channel 4 series, Coppers. I was keen to see how the programme portrayed our local police force and how the public reacted to it as well.

As you would expect Twitter was awash with comments and the hash tag #coppers had a strong following. It was here that I came across a comment from a Virtual PA who has a profile that reads “VirtualPA, marketing exec, HR manager.” Now I know people tend to add their disclaimers about views being their own (which this lady did not) but at what point, as viewers, are we really expected to separate our take on her comments from her a as promoter of her professional services on Twitter? I would argue it’s not possible, although as you will see later, she clearly disagrees with me.

I shan’t name the person but for the sake of this blog I’ll call her Miss V. Judging from her tweets Miss V is very supportive of the police and has little time for people that cause them problems. So much so that she asked “why were they allowed to breed?” – this was the comment that brought about our twitter conversation as I replied to her: my response being that it is a freedom on which this country was built.

Within minutes she had launched into a tirade of abuse that would have been worthy of a football terrace argument. Littering her tweets with misconceptions, allegations and potentially libellous accusations she carried on seemingly oblivious to the fact that others could read her tweets.

On a personal and professional level I have no issue whatsoever in a person defending their opinion and position; indeed like Voltaire I would defend that right no matter how I disagreed with the point being made. 

What I do disagree with completely is the erroneous belief that you can enter into a debate in a public forum, be wearing the colours of your professional brand and expect others not to judge your professional standing as a result.

 To prove the point, other twitters started commenting on the “conversation” with one even correcting Miss V on her typing skills and grammar – not a good advert for a PA I would argue.

We all live professional and personal lives that should remain separate and distinct – especially where comments and opinions are concerned; to blur the two is simply asking for trouble.

 Miss V may believe her clients are very happy with her work but I wonder how happy they would be in being associated with someone who argues on the biggest public platform available with language I was far more used to hearing down the pit?

I wonder how many of her clients are following her tweets or she theirs? I also wonder how many people who could have read her comments would have decided there and then on no account would they be contracting with her?

 If you want to use twitter freely to express your personal views especially if they are in any way contentious or inflammatory like Miss V’s, then please do the sensible thing and set up a “personal” Twitter account. You can even create a mystery alias to hide behind if you wish – that way you won’t risk damaging your professional public relations, scaring off potential new clients or making yourself look like a complete twonk!

 The above views are of course my own, and I stand by them in private and as a professional advisor. I will be happy to supply anyone wanting a full transcript of the conversation with one. And if you do need the services of a Virtual PA, I know a very good one; but it’s NOT Miss 

Written by Graham Parker MA MCIPR

Graham Parker MA MCIPR

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