- by Mark, "the Mind", Sarro
I came across an interesting news piece on the BBC News site regarding a Russian Governor who posted a tweet w/photo of an earthworm found in his salad that was served to him during a state dinner at the Kremlin for the German President Christian Wulff. His post was quoted as saying “That’s an original way to show that the lettuce leaf is fresh…”
Well, needless to say the backlash that ensued from the Kremlin’s top foreign policy advisor Sergie Prikhodko would not be gentile. According to the state run news agency RIA Novosti ; he was quoted as saying: "I should probably have advised my lawyer colleagues to add to the list of formulae for assessing governors' performance a provision for 'dismissal on the grounds of imbecility'…"
Exercising common sense would be the lesson learned here; should I really tweet about this considering that I am a government official? …Hmmm, probably not. The same goes for the rest of us in our work and corporate environment. Should we be Tweeting or Facebooking about something that happens at work during work hours? The answer simply and plainly is no. The idea of doing it even after work about something that happened during work would be ill advised. Especially if it is related to your company or someone associated with your company. Many employee contracts/agreements would consider this a breach of contract if you have any type of privacy or confidentiality clause in them.
More and more over the past few years there have been news stories related to incidents involving employees and the social media. There was a local story not so long ago about an employee working for the Philadelphia Eagles posting an opinionated blog (he happened to be diehard fan too) and the result was him losing his job because it was found to be a conflict of interest.
The bottom line is exercise common sense. Don’t Tweet, Myspace or Facebook during company time or off company time about things related to your company. The end result could be losing your job and I bet you would be hard pressed to explain in an interview why you aren’t working where you are anymore…. Hmmm, something to think about…
Great stuff, "The Mind". If you'd like to hear more about the policies that we help introduce to clients, be sure to contact us at your most pleasant convenience!
Do you really still have a Facebook profile? Even after your little brother and your mom created one? Let's face it; Facebook is not what it used to be. Have you gone through your "friends" list recently? I bet there are at least 500 people on it that you do not know or talk to. What is the point? In the beginning, it was a great way to keep in touch with old college friends or coworkers who you did not get to see that often. It was fun to share pictures in a place where everyone had a profile and could be tagged. But today, Facebook has morphed into a commercialized and corporate version of what it once was. Sure you set your profile and photo albums to only be viewed by "friends" but are they really your friends?
Previously, one of my coworkers wrote a blog about social networks, and how they have been used to terminate or suspend people from their jobs. The major issue is, however, do you offend coworkers, managers, and bosses by not accepting them as a friend, or do you make them a friend, and let them see all the comments your high school buddies post on your wall along with all of the old tagged pictures of you from college parties?
This "social networking tool" is wasting hours of your life that you will never get back and drawing you further from your actual friends. According to a study conducted at Duke University, in 1985, people had one third more friends than they did in 2004 due to social networking sites. Now, twitter has become extremely popular and Facebook has seen an immense increase in the amount of new profiles being created. Instead of being creepy and looking at pictures of your old friends to find out what is going on in their lives, pick up the phone and call them.
Just admit it; Facebook has gotten to be just as bad as MySpace with the random pokes and messages coming from people you do not actually know. Also, with the addition of all the pointless status updates, gifts, and applications like Mafia Wars, SuperPoke, We're Related, and Bumper Stickers, Facebook is becoming more and more of an annoyance. Join the new movement and delete your profile... oh wait technically you can't. Facebook's Terms of Service (TOS) Agreement states that "you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content." Although you thought you had a profile on Facebook, Facebook really has a profile of you on their website. But that is a blog for another time.
Here is a really funny video about the annoying parts of Facebook:
Julian Smith - 25 Things I Hate About Facebook
The news headlines lately are littered with stories of employees being terminated or suspended for posting pictures or blog articles. I understand if a person posts from "company equipment or on company time", that is unacceptable. When an employee is at work, it is not their time anymore; the employer is paying them for their time and attention, to be applied to the tasks that are needed to be done. But sometimes employees are being fired and terminated when doing so from home, on their time and from their own equipment.
I personally find it disturbing that an employee's personal life can be brought into the workplace and be made a determining factor on whether that person has the ability to perform the function to which they were hired. Example:
A highly skilled, highly trained biologist is responsible for splitting atoms to help find a cure for cancer. That's what they were hired for and that's what they are paid to do. That person performs their job with great success. They are responsible and careful at their job. At home, that individual enjoys posting articles and pictures on his or her social networking site that define who they are and what their interests are. These views may be acceptable to some and unacceptable to others. If that person posts their opinion about the president or a fun picture from vacation on THEIR site; who has the authority or the right to JUDGE what is right and wrong? Of course, an employer has the right at any time to terminate an employee, as does an employee have the right to terminate the employment. I understand all of this, my question and my fear comes from...what is next? Will Employers want to interview my friends, relatives, past girlfriends, past college drinking buddies, High School principal, Elementary school teachers...to try to find out what kind of person I was 10,15, 20...25 years ago? Does that have any relevance on whether I can split an atom today? If a person posts an opinion about the world's economy, or the trades their favorite sports team made in the offseason, does that matter to performing the job they were hired for and are paid to perform, and do well? Or is this an outlet for employees to cut fat from the workforce without paying unemployment wages, or is it personal office politics, where a supervisor or Manager may find an employee unlike themselves in personality. Maybe that leader wants to bring in a friend who is out of work and unemployed? Maybe the employee mistakenly ate that manager's tuna salad four months earlier, and the grudge is still there.
I know what you are saying, if the pictures are of inappropriate content, then it is justified, and I agree. We all have an idea of what is just downright inappropriate. I will never defend that content, in fact I would hope for Police intervention if it was illegal. But I may find your pictures of your last vacation, when your cousin was drunk, passed out in vomit in extremely poor taste, but is that actually grounds for termination?
I hope the people who are making these decisions do not have any skeletons in their closet, no regrettable nights from College, no issues from childhood, no dark secrets. I am sure they do, and the hidden problems are the ones that scare me the most, because you never know if your neighbor or co-worker is a serial killer, or anything for that matter.
I have an idea; How about not going to that site, not looking into an employee's "personal window". Also, How about employed people don't post any articles, and don't post any pictures, of any kind. How about the whole internet just stop being public? How about the internet be as boring as the Encyclepedia Brittanica? Just the facts (Who's facts)? Sounds like a not-so-free society if we go any further.
Isn't this what makes America what it is?