Advice on social media – experience required?

This is an interesting post about attorneys giving employment advice related to social networking when they clearly don’t understand how various social networking sites work.  The author raises the question, do attorneys need to be social networking users in order to give advice on its use?  His answer is “no” but that they need to know how it works.

I don’t see how its possible to understand how social networking works without actively using it.  And one of the problems attorneys face is that the learning curve can be steep.  For those attorneys whose experience of the web is email and an occasional Google search, they may not understand how the Internet works well enough to understand social networking.

One of my problems with attorneys drafting social media/networking policies for employers is that they apply the principles of other such policies like email, Internet use to employee use of social networking without understanding that the issues are much more complex.  Social networking greatest threat is transparency.  It surfaces all kinds of information and relationships in a readily digestible fashion with terrific ease and clarity.  A simply policy listing out all the things an employee shouldn’t do might work for email or Internet use but the risks of transparency with social networking are so high that this approach will not protect employers or give adequate guidance to employees.  If attorneys aren’t using social networking, they are unlikely to grasp this fact.


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