freedom of speech

Freedom of Speech Makes You Unattractive

Just because you can saying anything online, doesn’t mean you should. Wave hello (or is that good-bye?) to possible employers.

I recently had a discussion with someone online who argued that he enjoyed a separate Twitter account from his work account because he had the freedom to say anything he wanted.

But should he?

We now live in a world where everything we say online is Googlable (it’s now a word). Every future employer, every business opportunity is checking you out. Employees are a part of a company’s brand. Do you think they want to hire the person sharing profanity, sexual innuendo or inappropriate comments?

Last year, a study showed 35% of companies found online content that prevented them from hiring someone. I’m sure that percentage has only gone up.

This blog is as much about customer relations as it is about engagement. Enjoying freedom of speech, a little too much, can’t be the best way to brand yourself and engage with others. I actually stop following anyone that uses overly inappropriate language. I don’t mind the odd swear word to reinforce a point but if that’s the limited vocabulary you have…I don’t need that in my Twitter stream. I have more interesting people to engage with. What do you think employers are thinking?

Everyone and anyone is listening.

Using inappropriate comments makes you unattractive to companies. Unattractive to peers. Unattractive to your network. Unattractive to your tribe.

Creativity, personality, and individualism can be expressed. Are you doing it in the right way?


To follow up on my previous blog post, Yukari and I discuss how the use of freedom of speech, or really just saying anything you want, can have an impact on your professional future. Sad but true. Have you ever had this problem? Do you totally disagree?


  • Following on from Episode 4.5 of EngageRY, if we accept that there should be no division between the corporate and personal, then it’s all one voice anyway. But I do get Patrick’s conundrum. Are there things I would like to write about that have no place on the Copeland blog? Yup. Will I throw them out there into cyberspace on my own personal blog? Not unless I do it anonymously. And what’s the point to that. So I email those wicked thoughts to my friends and keep the public spaces free of it. I wonder about it all though. Isn’t this just self-censorship? Doesn’t it make for less colourful and thought-provoking conversation? Aren’t I just yielding to the company’s best interest? What do you think?

  • Janis La Couvée

    My industry is heavily regulated; my clients have expectations concerning my level of professionalism. I strive to maintain my unique personality while remaining professional, and building bridges in the community, online and offline.

    However, I am also concerned about my adult children; they have a right to their privacy too! Where does my need to express myself infringe on their right to have a private life?

    This has an extension in the rest of our “private” lives. As the edges between private and public worlds become increasingly blurred, do we trust ourselves, our instincts and the people we surround ourselves with to distinguish the differences. Will people respect our desires to remain anonymous in certain situations? If our friends choose to bare their souls, and we were present, does this mean ours are bared too?

  • I so agree with you Russel. Online is everywhere and forever. It affects not just the person using the inappropriate language –also those RT it on Twitter, or have it in Facebook wall etc..

    There is a very old saying, “Don’t hang your *dirty laundry on the line.” Of course that’s from the days when people dried their laundry on clothes lines outdoors. Well, the internet is a high tech clothes line and whatever you put out there is for everyone to see!

    Wisdom and judgment on some of your best tools in business.
    Thanks for the great reminder and I will RT this post on Twitter.

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