according to emily zager…

Web Transparency and the Workplace

Posted on: May 17, 2010

Hi, readers! Sorry about my recent hiatus from the blogworld the past few weeks; I’ve been in the midst of graduating from college (I’m an official Loyola University Chicago alumnus – AHH!) and beginning my entrance into the real world! But have no fear, I’ve made my return.
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I came across a pretty relevant and interesting article via CNN – “workplace rants on social media are headache for companies.” Of course, the headline catches my eye because this is a pretty big concern these days, especially as every day I read something new about Facebook privacy features (or lack thereof) and peoples’ status updates get more and more… candid and discernable, let’s say.  On top of it, employees within the workplace are seemingly becoming more lenient with their attitudes and actions towards social media policies.
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It’s fun to communicate and put it all out there in Web. 2.0, isn’t it? Well, imagine this: you’re having a discussion face-to-face with your trusty best friend, and are enjoying a particularly good gossip session – discussing love lives, family drama and office rumors. You can both vouch with your life that the information you swap will stay between you two over your cup of midday coffee at the cafe.
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Now, let’s switch up the setting. Scene: Facebook or Twitter.  You post a harmless little status or Tweet about the questionable Cosmo collection belonging to the guy in the cubicle next to you, or express your annoyance at Company X’s recent employee-bonding endeavors.
In person? This may end with a passing snicker from your BFF. On social media sites? 1) It’s there and its presence stored forever, whether you delete it or not, and 2) congratulations, you’ve invited chaos to possibly ensue, your manager to go berserk, the image of your company to be at risk and YOUR job to be put in jeopardy.  Employment + Social Media… lots to consider, readers.
For example – can you recall the recent Domino’s – YouTube fiasco? Not so pretty, right? Hardly. It’s a PR professional’s nightmare.
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In the recent article, author Stephanie Chen discusses how posting information/escapades/opinions can turn “public — and problematic” when visibly released over the Internet through social media vehicles.  As employment attorney John Anthony once expressed, “don’t post anything you don’t want to send to your boss in an e-mail.”
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[Update: 5/17/10, 2:00 PM] CHECK THIS OUT – I’m browsing the Chicago Tribune website  and, as an even better and more tangible example, check out what just happened to a waitress in North Carolina who turned to Facebook to dish out some anger. Case and point.
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What are your thoughts on the matter? Even better, what social media policies are enforced in or for your workplace?
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Emily received her BA in Advertising & Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago in May 2010. She is inquisitive by nature and loves to surround herself with new situations, people and the world around her.

Emily is a lifelong dancer, a current ballroom dance instructor, and lover of all things social media. She's currently searching for a new career opportunity in PR, event planning or advertising. Take a peek at her musings about media, branding & the PR indsutry.

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