‘No offense,’ not a good enough disclaimer


By Kate O’Dell, Opinion Editor

Anytime someone starts a sentence with “No offense,” it is always followed with a completely offensive statement. News flash: just because you decided to try to get away with said statement by preceding your insult with this phrase, doesn’t mean you will.

The same concept is being overlooked with social media etiquette. Just because you are on your own personal Facebook page, and just because your profile is ‘private,’ doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequence.

The same goes for Twitter. Social media is a relatively young communication environment, and with it brings new questions of morality and privacy rights. However, the concept that you are always representing the company you work for, whether away from work or during work hours, is not new.

It used to be that actions off duty would be censored by different morality clauses with your employer. You may not have been able to Tweet about your scandalous extramarital relations, but you sure would be held accountable should your company decide you are not representing them in a favorable light.

During the Superbowl this year, CNN Spokesperson Roland Martin sent the Tweet heard round the world when he portrayed homophobic views with this Tweet, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.”

He was suspended from his position with CNN. CNN then had to put into motion public relations crisis management in order to make sure viewers knew that the station does not share his sentiments. Although Martin was likely having a few beers, enjoying the Superbowl with his friends and could have very well been joking from a playful place, it doesn’t make his predicament any less serious. His career is likely to be painted with this ugly comment indefinitely.

It is time we accept the basic fact that nothing we say, in any forum, is off-bounds and will be considered just a personal opinion that doesn’t apply to your professional image. It all applies, it all counts and it is time we realize that isn’t going to change.

Besides, would we even want it to change? Freedom of speech is important, but with that freedom comes a great responsibility. Say what you want to say, but be ready to deal with the repercussions.