Should Employer’s Set Internal Social Media policies?

August 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Looking over shoulder

You know that horrible feeling you get when someone is peering over your shoulder watching what you’re doing?  It makes me cringe.  Well, the same goes for the use of social media during office time.  Is it ok, or should it be banned?

Twitter has been all of a buzz since its colossal growth in January 2009.  It seems as though every blog, magazine, news article and newspaper is discussing Twitter and it’s insatiable feeling.  Not convinced?  You’re one of the few.

Although you may have set up your own twitter account, I am sure you are still debating it’s business and personal advantages. More and more people are actively twittering and it raises a dilemma for business owners and employers.  Should you follow your employees?  If you do, what happens if you discover a tweet that pisses you off, or perhaps puts some serious business matter on the line or out in public? What action can, or should, you take?

No employer wants an internal matter made public; yet, that is exactly what all of the social networking technologies place at our fingertips. It is all very highly accessible.  You can send a tweet from a Blackberry, iPhone, and computer.  Any comment can be posted instantly.  Tweets often have no editorial filter beyond the user’s own judgment.  And as a result, the only thing separating your company’s internal crap from being aired in public is employee discretion.  It begs the question, what parameters can you set up to help your employees keep the issues and information internal?

Twitter is one example of how an employee’s right of self expression may at times be in conflict with an employer’s interest in preserving its company’s reputation.  You can solve this problem by developing and communicating effective policies to help manage employee expectations about what is acceptable and unacceptable.   Rules and/or policies may sound stringent but it helps in controlling what is said about your company and provides action plans for those violating the ‘communication code’.  (Also helps in monitoring who is or isn’t working)

For more information on Social Media company policies, Marketing Mystic Blog has some clearly defined methods.

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Entry filed under: small business tips.

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