We have all heard, seen, or use it. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln, Instagram, Google, YouTube, WordPress, Wix.com, and MySpace are a few of among many social media sites named. The question is…is it fair game for employers to access employee’s blogs or social media sites? Is it fair game for employee’s to post about whatever is on their mind in the current workplace?
The answers to the questions above are still in debate. Some employers use blogs and/or social media sites to help incorporate their business or company. Like for say… Fortune 500 companies. Do consumers rely heavier on what Fortune 500 companies have to post via blogs or social media? Yes, we do from a consumer standpoint. Given the facts, according to Amanda Dodge, about 34% of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs. For social media, ” 77% of companies use Twitter, 70% use Facebook, and 69% use YouTube” (Dodge 2013). It gives a chance towards consumers to see what the current status of some companies are up to, plus new products being produced. It also gives a chance for employee’s to test what they cannot or can say in blogs or social media site. For example, “you can’t rely on the first amendment” (Guerin 2014). Many employee’s are mistaken by first amendment rights, according to Lisa Guerin. We, employees, believe that the first amendment protects our free speech. However, it protects our free speech from the government not private employers (Guerin 2014). Therefore, employees are misguided in information and blog postings when it comes to employers. In addition, there are ways on the do’s and dont’s of corporate blogging and social media. Let’s go back to the basic facts:
- Do not harass or criticize your coworkers (though it may be amusing to other peers, it will not be so amusing to the employer reading).
- Do not post anything racist or sexist (the same thought applies from above).
- Never reveal companies trade secrets, a huge NO NO.
- Do not vent in blogs about workplace problems unless you solve them out directly with that coworker first.
- Blog anonymously or restrict user visibility.
- All points cited by Guerin 2014.
Getting the picture?? On the other hand, Dan Pontefract points out interesting details on how social media is moving backwards in the workplace. He converses about how companies are more involved with the digital age, in which he also discusses about how companies are limiting the use of personal accounts of employees. “In nearly all the jurisdictions, an employer is permitted to prohibit the use of social media sites during work, both on equipment provided by the employer and on the employee’s own devices” (Pontefract 2014). So, what does this mean exactly? Lets break it down…
- Your own device can be blocked from certain social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
- Employer does not a right to access what shows on your monitor, but has right to block it.
- If connected to company wifi, than employer has right to block certain sites.
- All points cited by Pontefract 2014.
It gives a whole new meaning to the social media and blogging work status for employers and employees alike in 2014. So, going back to the questions in the beginning…do employers or employees have a right? The answer is yes and no. Yes, to employers limiting our social media and yes, to employers deciding on what an employee should post or not. No, to employees posting whatever they want and make it seem right in the work place and no, to employees speaking their minds when it comes in terms to social media and blogging. In conclusion, employers and employees must watch (and monitor) social media sites. Either way, we could all be at fault on the web.
Dodge, Amanda. (2013). More than one-third of Fortune 500 companies have blogs. CopyPressed.http://www.copypress.com/blog/more-than-one-third-of-fortune-500-companies-have-blogs/
Guerin, Lisa. (n.d.). Fired for blogging: Learn whether employees can be fired for what they write in a blog, MySpace, or Facebook page. NOLO: Law for All. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fired-blogging-29762.html
Pontefract, Dan. (2014). Social Media in the Workplace is Going Backwards. Huff Post Business. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-pontefract/social-media-in-the-workp_1_b_5270543.html