Social networking policies -where to start?

Here is a good example of why companies need to employ a thoughtful process for tackling social networking issues in the workplace.  Its  an announcement for a two hour seminar on social media and employment law which covers issues from an employees use of social networking off hours to recruiting issues and privacy concerns.  Frankly, the range of issues covered in this seminar are only a portion of issues organizations face in coming to terms with social networking and this alone is pretty overwhelming.

One of the questions I think any organization needs to consider from the beginning is: where am I most exposed to risk?  For example, if my recruiters use Facebook etc. to screen job candidates, how much risk is there that the organization will be exposed to anti-discrimination suits?  Is it more important for the organization to protect its intellectual property and trade secrets and how much risk is there that  my employees may accidentally or intentionally leak out sensitive information on Twitter or Facebook?

There are so many issues implicated in the use of social networking by employees and relatively little control by organizations of this use, that I do think a threshold issue is to perform a risk benefits analysis on all these concerns and tackle those highest on the list first.


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