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You Always Represent Your Company When In Public

Robert Scoble
Expert Author
Published: 2005-03-11

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Lots of people disagreed with me when I said that if you are always representing your company when in public.

Tejas Patel, for instance, disagreed with me.

I find it interesting that people wanted me to take a much more aggressive stance on this issue. The problem with doing that is that most companies I know are very conservative about their public image. If you aren't careful out there you can get fired. We have several examples of companies firing people because they didn't match the public image the company wanted presented. So, I'm taking a more conservative approach.

If that scares away a few people from blogging, so be it. I'd rather people know what risks they are taking when they are in public than not.

And, again, you misunderstood what I was saying. I obviously have lots of opinions that don't agree with the "official" Microsoft opinion. Heck, I doubt you'll find many other Microsofties who agree that you should get fired for not having RSS on your Website (if there were, every Microsoft product site would have RSS, right?)

See, there's a difference between "speaking for" and "representing." Many of the people who argued against what I said don't understand the difference.

Here, let me try again. "Speaking for" is when you write "Microsoft's official position on XYZ, that was decided in a meeting last night is..."

"Representing" is when you decide to dress decently when going out in public with clients. Here's a test: if you did something illegal, or you walked around without any clothes on, you'd probably get fired, right? Ask Boeing's CEO. He had an affair with a coworker and got fired for that. Why? Because his behavior didn't match the image that the company wanted to portray. It was private behavior, but that doesn't matter.

And, yes, when you decide to speak in public you live under different rules than those who decide to stay quiet or anonymous. I don't recommend anonymity, though, because unless you're really good at hiding your identity you might get found out and then you'll be looked at the same as the rest of us are.

So, how do you protect yourself? Have a talk with your boss and find out what he/she will support. Every boss will have different standards. But if you're blogging in public and people know who you work for you gotta have that conversation.

That said, I recognize there's disagreement here and different attitudes. Just read my comments yesterday to see how disparate the views on this are.

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About the Author:
Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as PodTech.net's Vice President of Media Development.

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