COMPAS Poll/Survey

If employees of a high profile or federally regulated company want to tweet or blog, they should stick to the subject of Italian cuisine or another topic that is exquisitely non-controversial. On controversial topics, it makes little difference what side the employees take—they should stay clear. For example, they should stay clear of commenting on corporate taxes or homosexual rights whichever side they would favour. It is the topic that matters far, far more than the position the employees actually take.

Employee blogging and tweeting has been a persistent source of controversy ever since the arrival of the new technologies. A recent case involves the apparent dismissal of an employee of a federally regulated company for tweeting against homosexual marriage.

Steering clear of legal or dismissal aspects of tweeting and blogging, we asked the CEOs and business leaders on the panel about acceptability. Panelists were asked to score the acceptability of 14 different types of messages or comments.

“The merits of southern Italian cuisine” is the only topic that a clear majority of panelists found acceptable for blogging or tweeting. Furthermore, it was a majority, not a consensus. The only other topic perceived as somewhat acceptable was to advocate tax cuts, but even this topic elicited an intense minority sense of unacceptability.

These are the key findings from this past week’s Internet survey of CEOs and business leaders on the COMPAS panel. The weekly business survey is undertaken for Canadian Business magazine.

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