Should PR professionals express their personal points of view on Twitter?
By Ryan McCormick / Goldman McCormick PR
Originally Published in PR Week
Under no circumstances should a PR pro tweet their personal opinions.
These thoughts can put the reputations of both your clients and your firm at risk. Prevalent in today’s America is the hyper-sensitive lynch mob that viciously tears, shames, and attacks its prey for using words depicted as racist, jokes seen as repugnant, or views perceived as offensive or radically different to those of the masses.
To pacify this frothing mob, employers, clients, and advertisers often offer a sacrificial lamb – the unsuspecting offender – and stand idly by as the bones of that person’s career and reputation are ground into dust.
Times may change and people may change, too, but at this moment it’s dangerous for the career of a PR practitioner, or anyone for that matter, to offer a personal opinion.
Also, when it comes to tweeting personal opinions, some PR pros forget that their clients are the star and most deserving of both personal and media accolades. Those who are willing to risk everything for an ego trip are reckless and selfishly put the needs of themselves before their clients and co-workers.
French writer Marguerite Duras once said, “Every journalist is a moralist,” and I believe the same principal applies to communications professionals.
That being said, PR practitioners can indirectly get their personal insights to the masses by serving clients with a similar moral core. Hate Republicans? Then represent a Democrat. Passionate about animal rights? Give your time to PETA.
When it comes to reputation and crisis management, image rebuilding, and branding, PR pros should take to Twitter and let their brilliance permeate. Current clients or potential ones who see practitioners offering consistent, intelligent comments and solutions to complex problems similar to their own should be thrilled to have, or potentially have, you in their inner circle.
Years in PR have taught me that personal assessments, or the number of Twitter followers a person has, are irrelevant to how well someone can serve their clients and be an honest broker between them and the media.