This is a test post for Blog Project #1 to make sure it works.
By now, most internet users have heard the warnings: what you put on the internet never really goes away and can be accessed by virtually anyone. But when internet use is coupled with job functions, navigating cyberspace becomes even more complex. Even keeping one’s personal online identity in line with that of their employer or potential employer can prove nearly impossible due to the abundance and availability of information online.
Corporate blogging is one clear and large example of the intricacies involved in using the internet to develop and maintain a business reputation. Corporate blogs can serve differing functions, from providing information to persuasion and marketing to customer relations.
But blogging may not be the best medium for all corporate communications. Blogs do offer exposure to the entirety of the World Wide Web, which may be great publicity for some companies. Others, however, are intimidated by the vastness of the online audience and are more interested in reaching a target group or existing customer base, which most traditional blogging and social media platforms are not set up for. In fact, the blogosphere has grown so large that internet uses must sift through virtual tons of “blogorrhea” in order to find things that interest them (“Business…”). In many cases, corporate blogs have become devoid of all original content and are “being used merely to post static marketing materials as an extension of companies’ Web sites” (Havenstein 14). Where this is the case, it is questionable as to whether a corporate blog is even necessary or beneficial.
Regardless of their purpose or content, corporate blogs must be carefully managed in order to avoid backlash from the expansive online community. The problem with this, however, is that opinions on what is acceptable for corporate blogs are as varied as the millions of blogs in the blogosphere. There are several guidelines regarding etiquette and content in corporate blogging that are fairly universal:
- Blog postings should be relevant to the corporation and reflective of corporate ideas and values;
- Postings should be aimed at a general audience (unless the corporation targets adults only) without use of profanity or other offensive or insensitive words, phrases, or ideas, and;
- Postings are not standalone entities and are not separate from sociopolitical contexts.
When these rules are broken, the course of action should include reprimanding and even firing of employees involved.
But where is the line between business blogging and personal blogging? In certain corporate blogging settings, some level of individualized contribution is required and it can be difficult to distinguish the individual from the business. In recent years it has become common practice for employers to fire employees based on statements made on blogs or social media whether on a business related pages or a personal profile. Because of ideologies dictating that a certain level of integrity must be maintained by corporations, when a business is thrown into a full-on scandal based on employee actions the internet backlash can become so intense that the only option is to terminate the individual indefinitely. With the continued idea that corporations are people, employees are forced to adopt the same image and values as their employer in order to secure their position. Corporate identity has risen above employee individuality, a phenomenon that has personified corporations in a deeply problematic way.
“Business: The blog in the corporate machine; corporate reputations.” (2006, Feb 11). The Economist, 378, 66. 29 August 2014.
Havenstein, Heather. “Corporate Blogs Take On An Edge.” Computerworld 41.31 (2007): 14-16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.
Blogs have completely revolutionized the way that we communicate in a professional setting. Using the internet allows us to communicate using smaller amounts of time and larger amounts of information, but with the use of blogs also comes responsibility (Yeganeh, Bauback, and Darren Good, 2011). When using blogging in a professional and even non-professional setting a certain set of ethical guidelines should accompany the blog post because: the lines between business and personal blogging are beginning to be blurred, and there are legal and non-legal repercussions to reckless blog posting, and ethical guidelines allow the blog-post viewer to be protected from advertising and other undesirable content.
Information on the internet is literally so easily accessible that almost anything that you are looking for can be found in just a few simple clicks. Since the internet has progressed and continues to progress the line between what is personal information and what can be accessed or perceived as professional information on the internet has began to blur. Since most personal blogging websites (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can be viewed by future employers and other business savvy people, I think it is responsible to accompany some set (whether loose or strict) of ethical guidelines to personal blog entries because the blog poster may never know whether or not their content is being viewed by a third party.
The internet used purely for personal use is subject to a wide array of different uses and guidelines all of which are subjective to the person’s own set of personal guidelines and decisions, but in a corporate or business setting there are various sets of legal and non-legal risks that accompany blog posts (Strother, Judith A., Zohra Fazal, and Melinda Millsap, 2009). Communicating certain types of information in a corporate setting can lead to serious consequences. Blog journalists in corporate settings are liable to the same rights that govern traditional journalists making them or their companies liable if they post comments on internal rumors (Strother, Judith A., Zohra Fazal, and Melinda Millsap, 2009).
How many times have you read an internet blog and half-way through the blog realized it was an advertisement? I have done this a lot, and it is always frustrating. There are laws governing the advertisement legality of internet blog posting, and for good reasons (Smuddle, 2005). The audience or blog-viewer can become victim of the harsh reality of the internet. There is a lot of content broadcasted across the internet that many people would find offensive and even harmful. It should be in the interest of the blog-viewer and blog-writer to be mindful of the way certain content on the internet affects other people.
Strother, Judith A., Zohra Fazal, and Melinda Millsap. (2009). Legal and ethical issues of the corporate blogosphere. IEEE Transactions On Professional Communication, 52(3), 243-253.
Smudde, Peter M. “Blogging, Ethics And Public Relations: A Proactive And Dialogic Approach.” Public Relations Quarterly 50.3 (2005): 34-38. Business Source Complete. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.
Yeganeh, Bauback, and Darren Good. “Metaphorically Speaking: Micro-Blogging As A Way To Reframe Workplace Interaction.” OD Practitioner 43.3 (2011): 12-17. Business Source Complete. Web. 29 Aug. 2014
In reading the listed articles, I feel the pros of social media and blogging in the workplace far outweigh the cons. The common negative/con throughout the articles was the potential of the employee being hacked (whether severely as in identity theft, or by a friend trying to prank or embarrass them). This can easily be avoided, as long as someone adamantly protects their identity, passwords, and privacy they should be okay; being proactive is key. Regarding fair policy in the work place, blogging and social media should be allowed for employees to engage in at a reasonable amounts of time during the work day, and at their own discretion on personal time. As long as the company makes it clear to the employee that their digital identity/online presence should reflect the professional/workplace identity, or there will be consequences (as severe as being fired). I believe people should be responsible for what they say whether it be verbal or written. Saying something mean, offensive, or inappropriate is just as hurtful or off putting whether it is read or heard. When employees (or anyone for that matter) publish/post things via social media, blogs, emails, etc. they should use caution and think twice before posting/publishing/sending. One should ask themselves questions a long the lines of:
1) Would I want my mom/dad, grandparents, or boss to read this?
2) Do I like how this will reflect on me/my intelligence?
Of course sometimes we just want to vent, say what we really feel and think, but there is always a time and place for it. Private threads, chat apps, and blogging under and obscure alias on your own time are always easy fixes to vent if one really feels the need to do so in a more public manner. Keeping a positive outlook and attitude overall is always important in life. Also, if one truly feels the need to bash their workplace/employers then maybe they need to reevaluate their situation and think about seeking new employment or other avenues. This brings me to another point, social media and blogging is beneficial to employers because it allows them to get to know their employees on a more personal level. The CEO of Hootsuite raves about the benefits of the employee-employer relationship when social media (especially Twitter) allows everyone to interact on an equal level at all times creates a positive atmosphere and a stronger company (see article link below “3 reasons…Media”). More pros of workplace blogging and social media besides a stronger community is the marketing for the company. The first article (“More Than One third…Have Blogs”) lists positive statistics to support blogging in the workplace, proving that over 40% of the top 500 companies utilizing social media are in the top 200 of the top 500 companies to work for. That in itself is marketing for that 40+%. Who wouldn’t want to work for a top 500 company who encourages it’s employees to be social, and branch out in the digital outlets that have become such an integral part of ones social life in 2014? In my opinion, it’s clear that social media and blogging are beneficial to employers and employees a like and should be encouraged. Like every situation in life, one is expected to make good choices and present themselves in a positive manner- applying the same concept to the pixel world simply makes sense.
Holmes, Ryan. “3 Reasons Why Your Company Should Pay Employees to Use Social Media.” Web log post. Hootsuite. HootSuite Media Inc., 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://blog.hootsuite.com/pay-employees-to-use-social/>.
(Image) O’Neill, Megan. “What Are Companies Saying About Social Media in the Workplace?” Web log post. Social Times. Media Bistro, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2014. <http://socialtimes.com/social-media-in-the-workplace-infographic_b74120>.
Blogs and other forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, etc.) can be useful tools for communicating in the workplace. They provide important outlets for marketing, public health and safety campaigns, and customer support, just to name a few uses. To put it in rhetorical terms, social media connect workplace authors with existing and new audiences, to accomplish a variety of communication purposes.
Using social media appropriately can be the key to getting hired or promoted in a competitive job market. Using social media inappropriately can get you fired. Continue reading Blog #1: Blogs and Social Media in the Workplace