Handshake Drugs #2: For the Freedom of Tweets!

I was sitting in my office on a lovely Tuesday looking out a snowy King Street in Toronto when Mel (Audio Blood’s awesome Publicity & Marketing Manager) exclaimed, “have you seen this Glee vs. Kings of Leon shit?” Me being a current Glee fan (in a guilty pleasure sort of way) and a pre-Only by the Night Kings of Leon fan, my immediate answer was “What’s this?” I was then directed to this link and thanks to AUX TV totally informed of the situation.

“Pretty crazy that the Kings of Leon drummer would dare to tweet that eh!?” was my reaction.

The publicist inside of me had a bit of a heart attack. I could imagine on this very day Kings of Leon’s poor publicist was in panic mode dealing with the backlash. Kings of Leon’s management and label were probably totally furious at the drummer for responding that way because of the various implications.

The bigger issue here though is… where does the line get drawn between personal social media and representation by association? Because you work for a company does that mean your beliefs on everything must be in line with that companies’? Because you’re in a band, when you tweet on your personal account does it affect everybody who is involved with your band? Well, ya! Is this cool? Well, not really.

As a business owner, I realize the personal social media accounts of those I choose to employ could hugely affect business relationships. Say for example; one of my staff members were to twitter that they thought one of the band’s Audio Blood represented was garbage. It would look poorly on me and Audio Blood as a whole. It’s just the way it is unfortunately. I guess it’s the same as before twitter came along; people could talk behind their companies’ back and misrepresent them. But now that it is announced in writing on a public online forum these statements people make on their personal social media accounts hold much more weight.

But hold on a second, we are now living in a world where people have a platform to say what they want to publicly and have their opinions heard. Isn’t it great! Should anyone have the right to control this? Whatever happened to freedom of speech friends?

When I was speaking with some friends on the weekend about this issue, one of them brought up that she is a camp counsellor and throughout the whole year if pictures show up online of the counsellors smoking, drinking, or acting totally wasted they could return to camp the next summer only to learn that they are no longer employed. This seems a bit extreme! But from the camp’s perspective parents probably wouldn’t feel safe sending their kids to a camp where the counsellors are all stoners and alcoholics. But aren’t most young adults these days just that anyways? Hiding the truth doesn’t change the fact that these kids love these counsellors and they do a great job. Must we start covering up our real selves in order to appease certain images reflected on us by our employers and their consumers?

Personally I think that people should never be forced to portray an image. Just be who you are, online and off, and if someone can’t handle that, then screw them. Unfortunately though I realize that advice is not the best when most of the older generations still frown upon swearing and people with tattoos for no apparent reason.

On the other side, how are corporate companies with thousands of employees going to manage this? Like come on? It’s completely unrealistic to think you could control the personal social media output of thousands of people. Friends I have talked to say it is built in to their employment contract. Like that means anything?

What is the difference between tweeting something and saying something to your 5 closest friends? In the past this was never an issue because if an employee of a company was bad mouthing something they couldn’t do it so publicly. You can’t control the people who work for you – what they say, wear, eat, drink. As much as you would sometimes like to – you can’t make them 100% brand ambassadors for the lifestyle you are trying to market. They aren’t actors in your commercials, they are working and breathing human beings. So if companies can control your tweets, can they control your hair colour? I say if we give up our tweeting and social media freedoms now, it’s just a matter of time before your 9-5er takes over much more than they’re welcomed to. Or maybe I’m just getting a bit extreme.

So back to the Kings of Leon vs. Glee war – yes it’s a total mess and I would hate to have to pick up the pieces. Later the drummer apologized and stated that he didn’t mean for his comments to be taken the wrong way. Pffft. Such baloney.

But twitter is a form of expression and an extension of one’s thoughts. If that’s how Kings of Leon’s drummer truly and honestly felt, then fuck ya he should have tweeted it. Do I think what he tweeted was rude? Yes, totally. But kudos to drummer boy for saying what he thought and not letting the repercussions hold him back (even though he evidently admitted to having no balls and taking it back later on).

Living in a world where people hide behind their status updates and tweets in order to keep the peace temporarily, hardly seems like a world to me. Expression, art, and honesty (forgive me for sounding like a hippy) as a general rule are far more important than a rift between opposing personality types. These conflicts are what makes a healthy world thrive.

Here at Audio Blood, the only solution I see to this issue is to not hire total idiots. When looking for staff I make sure I get to know them really well and that their ways of doing things and beliefs compliment ours. It saves us from a lot of potential BS.

What are your thoughts and personal experiences with this? Share them below!

Thank you for reading! Have a lovely night!
xo Sari

**Read Handshake Drugs #1 here.

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