When it comes to your online brand, your baby should be yours.
You may think that this is an obvious statement, but it isn’t. Your employer could, at any point, stake claim to that baby, and that’s simply something you want to avoid.
Now, believe me when I say that
no one – and I mean NO ONE – is staking claim to your blog when you’re first birthing it. No one realistically wants to do the hard part – you know, the getting up in the middle of the night, the non-stop feeding, the diaper changes and the mess. Oh wait, thought we were talking about babies. But yeah, it’s kinda the same.
Like a baby, you’ll be the one who breathes life into it and nurtures it along. No one typically steps up to bat for that part.
“No one’s going to stake claim to your blog when you’re first birthing it.”
It’s the part that comes after that typically piques others’ interest; when you’re BIG.
When people know you.
When your baby’s got clout.
Your employer could try to come after you once your blog gets big – in whatever way they subjectively interpret that accomplishment (whether “big” to them translates to traction and influence, or to sufficient revenue generation), and ask for a piece.
(side note: this is different than whether or not you should tell your employer about your ‘brand’, and the answer to that question is covered here)
What complicates matters even more
where it comes to a brand is that it’s birthed in the online world.
That means lines are blurred where it comes to where that space ends and employed space begins. There’s lots of ownership questions. And you simply don’t want to get burned.
“What complicates matters even more with a brand is that it’s birthed in the online world. That means lines are blurred where it comes to where that space ends and employed space begins.”
This, my friends and colleagues, is part of why I created SoMeDocs. To empower physicians and teach the importance of PERSONAL physician brand. YOURS.
So unless you’re developing a brand explicitly with your employer, using the traction of their name in an agreed upon manner, be sure to protect the ownership of what you create.
I would take into serious consideration the risk versus benefits (yep, just like we counsel our own patients when doling our advice) of starting your online brand where your employer employer is concerned, and the steps needed to take to protect it. It’s always best to think things through and better to be safe than sorry.
So avoid the online custody battle and protect your baby before it’s born.
Avoid the online custody battle and protect your baby before it's born. And in case you were wondering, we're referring to an 'online #physician brand'. #twittemed Click To Tweet
(This is the best I can do where one-size-fits-all advice goes, but specifics of your BRAND matter. Where online strategy is concerned, SoMeDocs is here to help, and for the legal issues involved, consult your online or IP lawyer.)
Dana corriel, MD is a healthcare social media expert and the creator of SoMeDocs, who blogs on her website, Dr. Corriel.