Recently I've been having conversations with various people about the difference between institutional and personal speech. There are a couple of recent events that highlight this issue:
- the journalist who was forced to suspend his blog
- questions around Joi's promotion of and investment in Six Apart
- what Esther Dyson had to say about her own new blog
And my own questions about this particular blog, and how it might impact or reflect upon my public activities.
The way I have been thinking about this is that I consider this space to be my personal space, where I'm free to express myself independent of my affiliations. I am obviously very committed professionally to a couple of institutions, both for-profit and non-profit. And I am frequently called upon to make public statements about or on behalf of those institutions.
But it seems to me that the predominant culture around web logs today is that the speech is more personal, and not necessarily intended to be representative of a particular institution or affiliation. Now, that doesn't mean that the speech isn't public -- of course it is. If I say something idiotic here, I'll probably suffer the consequences. But what I say here shouldn't be interpreted as me speaking for any of the institutions I am affiliated with.
This is all new to me, and I'm sure I'm not the first to tackle this question. I wonder how others with dual- or multiple roles have dealt with this?