Have you ‘friended’ anyone you work with on Facebook lately? Sent them a text message with a great (R-rated) picture from the party on Saturday? Tweeted about that hot dress one of your coworkers was wearing today? Does your Facebook or MySpace page include pictures of you in a swimsuit on your last vacation – and do some of your ‘friends’ include coworkers, supervisors, subordinates or customers?
If so, you’re not alone – and this is just a small sampling of the new ways we’ve found to connect with others. More and more of our daily communications and contacts are happening through social media sites and new technologies. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that the line between work and non-work is becoming increasingly blurred, and thus increasingly dangerous.
If you send or receive a questionable text message on your personal phone while you’re at work, is that an issue for your employer? What if you use your work computer to check your Facebook page? One of the most useful – and troublesome – results of having all of these new technologies is that we are now able to share a great deal of personal information that used to be thought of as private, and used to have very limited circulation. And, we haven’t yet figured out all the ways all this will affect us at work!
We’re just starting to see legal cases that involve inappropriate use of social media in the workplace. Situations abound where employees make comments about one another (or their supervisors or employers) on Facebook or Twitter. Employers are becoming concerned about the amount of time employees spend on these sites – as well as what they do when they’re there.
Social medial is with us – and it’s in our workplaces to stay. We, as employers, need to catch up, become aware of the issues, and talk about them with our employees so everyone is clear about our expectations. This is the first in a series of blogs on the subject of social media and the impact it has and will continue to have in our workplaces.
Please send us your comments and experiences…and stay tuned! ~ DS