Be Careful – Politics and Business Don’t Mix!

Posted on April 22, 2010. Filed under: linkedin advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I was interested to see the following recent poll on LinkedIn and even more interested when I saw that over 5000 people had voted and there were more than 200 comments!

This poll does not appear to have any political agenda – it is simply an interesting question relating to the TV debate and comparing it to a common business question.

This was the first ever UK party leaders TV debate so the poll received a lot of attention, what surprised me was the number of people who felt the need to leave a comment (optional) and how many of them took the opportunity to express their personal political views!

This brings up some interesting issues – LinkedIn is a business networking site, individuals are effectively representing their employers in their activities on LinkedIn so I wonder how their bosses would feel if they saw the following comments

‘Easy to point the finger when you have never done anything or had time to prove you cannot do it! Gordon you “blue” it and 13 years of promises and now blame on others’

‘Cameron is a floundering tit, Clegg needs to make the tea, Gordon is the only one with the experience to get us out of recession.’

‘Vote Clegg, we have nothing to loose. How could the Lib dems do any worse?’

(note the last one also included a spelling mistake!!)

This is just a small selection from the 200+ comments – each one of the above was positioned next to their picture, headline (mostly job title and employer) and a link to view their full profile. Click here to see the full list of responses.

There is nothing wrong with holding strong political views but is it wise to openly express them to current and potential customers?

Is it clever to risk a business relationship in this way? Personally I think not.

Business and politics should be kept separate – by all means express your political opinions on facebook or other more ‘socially’ orientated networks but I would strongly advise caution when posting comments anywhere on LinkedIn – it could affect your pay packet more than any future government policies!

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3 Responses to “Be Careful – Politics and Business Don’t Mix!”

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I agree Mark…..it’s a very dangerous game and I personally wouldn’t discuss my political views openly on LinkedIn. Equally, I wouldn’t discuss my religious views.

Lazy spelling, bad grammar and revealing strong personal views can not only wipe out previous opinions about you, but can also damage your company’s reputation and PR – quite literally in one line!

Intelligent and rational people can discuss these topics calmly, and agree to disagree, but that is a rare combination in the world today. Also, online, there is very little encouragement to act in a civil manner toward one another.

I personally think political debates should be kept to political debate forums and should never be used when also representing your company

Great advice Mark. I agree completely. Political debates are a total minefield – your always going to offend somebody whatever you view. Bringing politics into the business arena is a recipe for disaster in my opinion.

I’m with you Mark….vote is interesting, comments (especially demonstrating spelling incompetence) is not so wise.


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