In my Twitter bio, alongside some of my affiliations and commitments, I have the phrase ‘All views mine – happy to clarify!’
Many friends, working a variety of industries, will have ‘Views My Own’ somewhere around their web presence, and it is often something that pops up in conversations, both amusing and serious.
But what does it actually mean?
We live in a day when expressing some views – in any context, whether or not we think it is private – is enough to get you fired, an event cancelled, or losing a role of influence. This, however, isn’t a post about issues of sex and gender but more what I mean when I say ‘All views mine – happy to clarify’.
Firstly, it is the principle that I can say what I want, where and when I want, based on what I believe. The flip side of this is that anything I say could have consequences. If I were to write a negative review of a book published by the company I work for, even if it isn’t a title I work directly on, I have to decide what matters more: a straightforward commercial reality that 5 Star Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are incredibly important, or the principle and truths being engaged with in the book. That said, it might be prudent for me to time a review like that after publication, or to publish it at a time when I am not explicitly representing the company. Obviously, that is going to be difficult!
Secondly, I don’t want to pretend that the opinions I spout are fact in and of themselves, disconnected from other people, or set in stone. Just because I say something, doesn’t mean it’s true. I’ve explored this in detail before when considering how we listen and learn online – and am aware that to some people the mere fact of my platform makes me an ‘influencer’ of some kind. Just because I say something does not mean it’s true. So I might (and regularly do, actually!) revisit things that I’ve written or thought about, changing my mind, and usually write about that or add a note to a post if I’ve changed it.
Thirdly and finally, I’m saying that my conscience is not for sale. As a fallen sinner, I’ve made mistakes in every job, relationship and other important connection I’ve ever had. I’ve also, in the past, violated my conscience in ways I didn’t expect or didn’t mean to. At times like that, I’m reminded of the very personal truth of Romans 3, that the ‘all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God’ includes me, as universally as it includes you. But in light of that, I hope that I will not be the kind of person who says that 2+2=5 because my employer/pastor/friend/monarch says it is, but instead speaks the truth. Like every human ever – more than some and less than others – my conscience is not perfect, but when I say ‘views my own’, I hope that I am respecting a quest for truth more than I am a quest for comfort, conformity, or something else. Because after Romans 3:23, quoted above, comes Romans 3:24: ‘and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ’. Thus, my conscience is freed from sin (Even as I continue to be tempted and occasionally fail to resist temptation), and that is a more important thing than employment, reputation, or any earthly good.
I hope that clarifies what I mean by ‘views my own’. There are a few secular articles I found helpful in thinking this through:
- ‘Views My Own: Five Twitter Bio Cliches to avoid‘ – a helpful reminder from the FT of legal reality and also not being annoying.
- ‘Why Twitter Disclaimers like Views My Own Won’t Save Your Job‘ – a good piece from Forbes.
I’d also always recommend Mark Crosby’s So Everyone Can Hear and the conversational classic How To Win Friends and Influence People.