Friday, December 28, 2007

More Facebook Headaches for Employers and the Brand of You

We all know the story. Well, maybe we don’t!

Social networks control the lives of people in the Millennial Generation, aka Gen-Y. We spend our free time and sometimes company time, playing on sites such as Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter and others (blogging included). We meet new friends, connect with old ones, post videos and photos and comment on other friend’s profiles and pictures.

Sounds fun right? Well, it is, No doubt about that. But there has been cause for alarm for many employers with employees that have profiles on these sites. Sometimes the line between employee and personal user are crossed.

What happens when an employee calls out another employee on a message board or comment thread? What happens when holiday party photos are displayed online that really shouldn’t have been taken in the first place? What happens when you write in your personal blog and some things are a bit in the grey area?

These are all questions that employers have not been able to fully answer as of yet. Should the consequences be the same as if the occurrence happened in office? Is a provocative photo (now online) taken at that holiday party to be considered sexual harassment by corporate?

  1. A workplace policy addressing the appropriate use of technology such as the internet, including blogging, text messaging, etc., should be put in place;
  2. Employees should be thoroughly educated on the policy and the potential ramifications for violating it;
  3. Employers should be vigilant about enforcing the policy.

I think Donna is on the right track. Employers and employees both need to start taking responsibility for their actions on social networking sites.

The College Recruiter Blog reports that 6 Unionized workers were recently part of an event involving ridiculing their supervisor on Facebook. From the College Recruiter Blog:

“The derogatory postings were made using personal equipment during personal hours. The employer moved to terminate them. Their union stepped in and saved their jobs but two of the employees ended up with one-week suspensions and the other four received letters of reprimand in their personnel files.”

This post is in no way shape or form meant to discourage the use of Social Networks and Social Media, even if you are a working professional. It is meant to spark a thought in your mind that you may want to watch what you are posting. Everything that you are writing and posting online is creating an online portfolio for the company of “you.”

How do you want to represent yourself?

Happy hunting Orlando!


Tampa JobSpot January 2, 2008 at 11:23 AM  

You make a really good point here. Many employees don't know who's looking at their personal profiles or blog. If you must blog about things that you would rather you're employer not view you should make these posts private or create a private blog that isn't accessible to viewers. Even myspace and facebook had private profiles, but when you befriend someone they can view it.

Anyways people should use caution when sharing information or posting photos on the web. You never know who's watching.

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