On Commenting in Public

With the rise of publicly available social media, it pays off to be just a little more mindful of what you are writing online. We’ve seen enough PR scandals for lifetimes by means of a simple innocent tweet sent in the spur of the moment.

What I’m after here is how social media have made it so much easier for us to be public people. What was previously only reserved for celebrities or influencers by way of newspapers and magazines, is now available mainstream.

With this comes an important lesson about commenting in public. That is, you need to be very mindful of what you are writing and how it can come across, from multiple viewpoints. There is a reason why the PR and communication industry exists: Communication is hard.

My argument is that everyone needs to think a little more about the difference of commenting in the semi-public (in groups of friends, to colleagues etc.) in comparison to the true public. While ideally the same rules apply, the public is a much harder place.

If you are someone in a higher role in a company, be it a startup or “traditional business”, or perhaps even *a* role, you are commenting as your professional self. Always. However many disclaimers of “these are my own thoughts” you add, your commentary will follow you.

It pays to be mindful of what you are writing. When you write publicly or comment about events in public, it *does* matter what others think about you. In fact, that’s even the primary thing that matters in PR.