On-line reputations and why we should avoid politics

In Britain we are fast coming up on a General Election. This is leading to some people getting animated about policy, criticizing politicians they don’t like, and generally displaying their views on-line for all to see. Frankly some of us would rather not see it, especially in the more instant stuff such as Twitter.

In my view it is very unwise to flaunt one’s politics in public. I will admit freely that my business, taxation, is highly political, but if I do talk about the political element it is in the context of the reason for introducing a measure and not about the political philosophy.

It is very easy to get upset about someone’s political views. It may happen that we respect someone and that person’s skills and abilities and would trust them to do a job, so theoretically we should be willing to refer business. However, we are human beings who are sometimes influenced more by emotion than by logic. If we don’t like someone’s politics we may not refer him or her.

In the height of the last US Presidential campaign I un-followed on Twitter quite a number of the more strident individuals whom I thought had it wrong or whose views I found simply distasteful.

Some of you may know that I am a licensed radio amateur, a radio ham if you like. One thing we were all taught when we were studying for our Radio Amateur’s Examination (RAE), was that we should never talk on-air about religion or politics. I think that the on-line business environment is very similar. Those two subjects can upset people more than any other and falling out with our friends over these subjects can do no one any good..

I would recommend that if business people care about their on-line reputations they stay away from politics and do not make provocative comments about politicians, past or present. That way they keep on-side with their network. If they respect our privacy by not inflicting their politics on us, we can respect their private right to their views without anyone getting upset.

© Jon Stow 2010

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