Me and Kate Jackson

You know how they put a disclaimer at the end of movies and television shows as a CYA for any story, character, or animal issues?

Those disclaimers are meant to provide legal protection or at least try to ward off potential lawsuits.

It occurred to me, after reading years of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that there should probably be a comparable social media disclaimer!

While there are social media policies, and rather bland Twitter profiles stating someone’s tweets don’t represent an employer’s point of view, they don’t go far enough. They don’t really protect a reader and help them understand the significant level of fiction, hype, and misinformation to which they are being exposed.

A Social Media Disclaimer Recommendation

As a result, here’s my suggested social media disclaimer to provide more accurate context for most self-serving social media content that’s out there. Try this on for size:

“Implied relationships with social media rock stars may be further away than they appear to be. Opinions are mine only, and not just as in they aren’t held by my employer. They aren’t held by ANYONE else either . . . unless I copied them directly from a social media rock star. All assessments of events, food, and social interactions are highly subjective and generally over-stated. Although pictures of me with celebrities, visiting glorious vacation destinations, and consuming fabulous food and drinks account for 99% of my photos on Facebook and Instagram, they represent only 1% of my otherwise boring life. By me sharing your content, don’t think it implies endorsement. It doesn’t even imply I read it before sharing it. Client projects mentioned in Facebook updates should not be assumed to be paying engagements. Some clients mentioned in updates are purely fictional and do not represent any real clients living or dead.”

This won’t help you beat any FTC issues on disclosing freebies you receive for review in your blog. But if people had to attach this social media disclaimer to every over-the-top, humble brag, or arrogant Facebook update they make, social networks would be a lot more tolerable.

Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing

What do you think? Would this help make the humble brag social media content you’ve seen the past week more tolerable? –  Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4 Responses to “Social Media Disclaimer: Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing”

  1. Mike Brown says:

    Reader Jim (who used to be from Atlanta) demanded more context for the photo. As I emailed to him, “For context, I offer the disclaimer . . . it appears closer than it is!”

    My dad managed a local CBS station in western Kansas. These were taken at CBS affiliates dinners in Los Angeles when Kate Jackson was on “The Scarecrow and Mrs. King.” I didn’t ask for anything other than to get my photo taken with her; the hugging was completely her move. She’s obviously very kind, and I always did like Charlie’s smartest angel best!

  2. Michael Burns says:

    A mommy blogger posted last fall — shared by friends on Facebook — a photo of her smiling children at some event. In the accompanying blog post she wrote about the true events of the day, how infighting and hunger and lack of cooperation or compassion throughout the morning and afternoon had driven each of them to tears at some point in the previous six hours. Her photo, she wrote, captured one of the rare shining moments of an otherwise emotionally trying day.

    Knowing the photos my wife and I share, we could tell a similar story, as could every “proud parent” in particular. I’m not sure that any of us — again, proud parents in particular — believe that we’re really fooling anyone when we only show the positive glimpses of our lives to our online friends. Showing the opposite, though, even if injected with thoughtful attempts at humor, is now derided as shaming.

    Where’s the balance, I wonder? Should I intentionally drive through that gaping pot hole so I purposely get a flat tire and can subsequently rant about it? Should I share that I quietly suffer from [insert chronic medical condition or phobia] just to balance out my positive posts?

    The concept that has been floating around recently stating that Facebook makes people more depressed because they only see the positive things in others’ lives arguably applies to young adults who haven’t experienced what us seasoned veterans have … no one’s life is as glamorous as some would have us believe.

    The disclaimer is spot on. I could think of an additional parameter or two, but you’ve nailed it regardless. Bottom line, I am one who actually looks to the humble brag of others to know that my online “family” is doing well and achieving milestones or aspiring to better things in their lives. Rising tide and all of that.*

    * Disclaimer of my own: Workout routine results, fad diets, and, “I’m headed to the gym!” updates could stand to be filtered, out of my feed at least.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks for the fantastic comment on the post, Mike. Great insights, and it really made me think about how important our own situation as audience members is on whether something comes off as too much. When it comes to kids, for instance, since we don’t have kids, I really enjoy seeing kid pictures and posts on Facebook. I guess for me there’s a certain type of post that screams, “I’m ___________ more than you,” and those are the ones that make me squirm.


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