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Tiger Woods and Enterprise Social Media Policy

by Anthony J. Bradley  |  December 16, 2009  |  5 Comments

The Web is brewing with comments and controversy over Tiger Woods’ right to privacy concerning his recent transgressions. Here is one such article (note the controversy in the comments).

Some people think that Tiger Woods is no different than the mailman and is due the same right to privacy. In a perfect world maybe, and I say maybe, this would be the case. But in this world it is NOT. Tiger Woods, unlike my mailman, sells his image to the highest bidder. And they bid high, to the tune of millions upon millions a year. The fact of life today is that you can’t sell the good parts of your image and claim privacy on the bad. All your behavior becomes a part of your personal brand.

No matter where you fall on the question of personal privacy, this is the way of the world and it is unlikely to change because there are too many people who feel that if you sell your persona then then all your behavior is fair game. And certainly the demand for scandalous information is strong.

What does this have to do with enterprise social media policy? Everything. Tiger Woods is not the mailman. Tiger is the number one spokesperson and identifiable personality for “Tiger Woods International” (A business with a billion plus in assets). Effectively, Tiger Woods does not have a public personal persona. He only has a public professional persona. This means that any public information on Tiger Woods the person will impact “Tiger Woods International” the business.

Some people in your enterprise are in the same boat. I talk to clients regularly about social media governance strategies and advise them on the management of employee personas. Most employees will have both personal and professional personas and it is important that the enterprise respect those personal personas (within limits). However, a few (maybe the CEO and other high profile people) really don’t have personal personas. A solid understanding of personas is critical to effective social media policy formulation. Different persona types may need specialized policy. It also may impact your decision about featuring your CEO in the new advertising campaign 🙂 

As usual I like to point readers to some relevant Gartner content (available to Gartner clients or for a fee).


Anthony J. Bradley
10 years at Gartner
26 years in IT

Anthony J. Bradley is a group vice president in Gartner Research responsible for the research content that Gartner publishes through its three internet businesses (, and These responsibilities include creating and leading the research organization and infrastructure needed for the strategy formulation, planning, research, creation, editing, production and distribution of the content. He has four global teams of highly talented people who are advancing towards the world's greatest destination for content on how small businesses succeed through information technology.

Thoughts on Tiger Woods and Enterprise Social Media Policy

  1. Anthony Bradley says:

    I should also add that the persona management challenge becomes much greater when employees explicitly associate themselves with their employer. Avoided, explicit, and implicit associations matter to social media policy.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luis Saldana, Position One Media. Position One Media said: Tiger Woods and Enterprise Social Media Policy […]

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Position1Media: Tiger Woods and Enterprise Social Media Policy

  4. Anthony, you identified a great opportunity to illuminate the abstract notion of “social computing” in a very tangible light. Thanks for the insight and clarity of your analysis.

  5. […] motivating enough to add this post. My trigger is a post by Gartner analyst Anthony Bradley about the realities of Social Media, and I would like to expand on […]

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