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Stay Far, Far Away from the Political Fray

It’s no secret we’re living in an incredibly contentious time, both politically and otherwise.

People are in no mood to compromise, and a winner-takes-all mentality pervades many aspects of life. General civility is seemingly out the door much of the time.

That means your utility needs to be extra cautious with public proclamations, no matter what avenue you choose – social media, your utility’s website, press releases, etc.

When you do have to wade into the political landscape – maybe for a public hearing – try to remain as neutral as possible, while still defending your interests. Avoid taking sides with either political party, if at all possible.

Resist being dragged into debates, political or otherwise. That means keeping a close watch on your utility’s social media outlets, particularly Facebook and Twitter, where even innocuous comments can be taken the wrong way or someone will simply try to stir up trouble for whatever reason.

It’s best to not let any potentially troublesome comments go unaddressed. Carefully respond with generic language that indicates your utility remains neutral when it comes to politics (assuming that’s the case). Do not, however, get into a back and forth debate: Find a way to end the discussion; especially troublesome commenters may need to be banned, but hopefully that’s a rarity.

You should also strongly caution members of your executive team and those at the managerial level to take care with public pronouncements and their social media posts when it comes to politics. Granted, you can’t force anyone to suppress their political beliefs, so hopefully your company leaders have enough common sense to stay out of heated political battles.

When it comes to the rank-and-file, you have even less control. Then again, it’s doubtful anyone is going to pay much attention to a regular employee’s social media — unless they’re rabidly promoting extreme beliefs that may be offensive. At that point, it might become an issue for your human resources department.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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