During pre-Internet days, staff were not permitted to include their Mayo Clinic affiliation when writing newspaper letters-to-the-editor. For example, the correct sign-off would not be “Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic” but “Lee Aase, Austin, MN” because borrowing Mayo’s credibility to make my point would be misappropriation.
By 2009, our policy needed to account for new media realities, thus the second point in our Social Media Guidelines for Mayo Clinic employees:
Write in the first person. Where your connection to Mayo Clinic is apparent, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Mayo Clinic. In those circumstances, you should include this disclaimer: "The views expressed on this [blog; website] are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer." Consider adding this language in an "About me" section of your blog or social media profile.
Employees have the right to express opinions, but not the right to use Mayo Clinic’s name or otherwise imply Mayo’s endorsement. This is why we encourage using an appropriate disclaimer, although exact language may differ, particularly on platforms with character limitations. On Twitter, for example, my disclaimer says “Opinions tweeted are mine, not Mayo’s.”
This guideline recognizes that social media tools make it easier than ever to broadcast opinions to a wide audience. Our employees have the same rights of expression as other members of society, but unless we receive formal authorization to speak for Mayo Clinic, we must make it clear that our views are our own.
In this case and on this topic, I am speaking for Mayo.
Tags: Employee Communications