July 29, 2010
Personally, I remember when there were BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), think back before Windows, AOL, and even CompuServe. Here is a good one, I remember when I had a 9600 baud modem, and my green screen computer. Those days are long gone, now most people have smart-phones, you may even be reading this on one, now to think about it, I remember owning a bag-phone, then a brick-phone that could store 9 numbers!!! That was the height of technology then, now my smart-phone can store over 300 numbers, and can surf the net, and has specialized apps for all these social networking sites such as Twitter, Face book, LinkedIn, and the such.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, ask a teen-ager, they know them well, and so does many of your employees! These multitude of sites have a great networking asset side, but also sometimes has an addiction, if not a possible breach of confidentiality associated with them. Take for example, Company A is doing some work for a federal agency, and someone takes out a smart-phone or when they get home tweets about what work they did at the job-site, that could be considered a breach of security. As another example is Company B. An employee overhears a rumor about a relationship in the office, and posts it on their face book account, which not only will they see it, but every person that they are friends with will also see it and so on and so on, which could cause strife in the office, if not a toxic workplace.
Many employers are now going with Social Networking Policies aimed directly at slowing, if not ceasing this activity. When a person makes a statement on these sites, and in their profile it says that they work for ABC Company, those statements could be miss-construed as a company authorized statement if not properly worded. What one person reads as a jovial post, another may perceive as a factual statement.
Perception is the word of this post, perception which is what a person thinks a statement means, can be positive, but could also be negative, if not destructive for business. Can an employer ban a person from being a member of these sites? No. Can an employer have a policy in place whereas employees that post about work quantify the post with a single line saying that they are not representing the company? Yes.
I am sure that everyone has seen the commercials on television (those are the things you fast forward through using your DVR, or Ti-Vo) about the young lady that is constantly asked What are you going to post next?, culminating at the end of the commercial where a person playing the part of a predator asks for that young lady post something really personal. There are true dangers when posting private information on the internet, as there are lots of people that can read it, save it, if not warp it into something truly destructive.
Is this supposed to be a terrifying post, no. This post is just to shock you as the business owner/manager to what may be out there. A correctly, and legally written social networking policy is something that may be daunting to business owners/managers. This is why People Wise is here, to assist, we have members on staff that can assist your company become more productive by releasing your worries about HR issues such as this. Contact us, and we can assist.
Oh, and by the way, The statements in this post where the word “I” have been used do not reflect the standing of People Wise in any way, and must be considered an editorial by the author of the post.