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Have an office chat about social media

After all the news last week about the NFL and Twitter, especially how the Miami Dolphins are dealing with things, Bridget and I decided to weigh in, in the hopes that companies and employees can begin a conversation about Twitter. It's two-fold, our message, designed for both bosses and workers, and it's appearing in tomorrow's paper:

Dear Employees: Your Tweets are making us, and your boss, reach for the Maalox.

It's clear that this age of instant communication is at least causing headaches, if not ulcers, for plenty of CEOs. That's especially the case when employees hooked on Twitter and Facebook don't think before they type and share insider information.

Employees need to realize that some conversations are privileged. Just because you're in a meeting about a new product, or worse, layoffs, doesn't mean you should be broadcasting details to the world, 140 characters at a time.

Dear Bosses: You really should talk to your employees about what shouldn't be shared.

If there's a meeting going on and you don't want people to talk about it publicly, say so. Not everyone has the mind-set that everything in a staff meeting is, say, private.

That's because many employees -- especially millennials like Bridget who spent all of their college years on Facebook -- don't always think about the consequences of sharing work information on social networking accounts. They don't see that there should be a reason for them to not share info, nor that there could be negative consequences to sharing what goes on in conference rooms.

No-Tweets-Football-MH202 Many companies -- or organizations, like the NFL -- say they are creating or have created social networking policies that spell these things out. Others have gone to the extreme of simply blocking social networking. Last week, the Miami Dolphins said they were clamping down on players and media tweeting during practice.

Companies shouldn't think of social networking sites as inherently good or bad -- they're just the most recent form of communication. So why not just actually communicate with your workers about what's appropriate and what isn't?

It is a two-way street. Workers should think about whether it makes sense to be talking about things that are public knowledge but sensitive, like layoffs or strategy.

Do you really want your boss to see you broadcasting not-so-great news about your company? How much of an asset are you if you're reminding the world of bad news?

And more importantly, why would someone want a complainer on their team?

Do you think we're being too extreme?

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If your company hasn't explicitly laid out a social media policy that they expect their employees to follow, I agree that employees should think twice before publishing anything about the company. That said, more and more companies have started to use social media themselves and have established blogs where they are communicating with their audience, increasing transparency.

If a company lays off employees, why is that something that should not be shared? So long as you're being sensitive to the persons directly involved, I feel that the public has the right to know.

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