Rising Need for Social Media Policies

Here are a couple articles that suggest the increasing need for social media policy planning by all kinds of organizations.  First, the Wall Street Journal has a detailed article about the dangers employers face when terminating employees because of social networking blunders.

Second, is this article by Sheppard Mullin’s which describes the issues involved in the Gaskell v. University of Kentucky where a University search committee researched a potential executive hire and found out about his religious views and practices.  They not only didn’t hire him, they discussed in meeting s where minutes were kept about how his religious views impacted their hiring decision.  This candidate sued and the case is to go to trial in February.

One Social Media Policy Does Not Fit All

Both these articles point out the need for assessment in the social media policy planning process.  Too often organizations are falling into two camps – the Scared Rabbits or the Impulsive Leapers.  The first group wants to lock down social networking, restrict everyone from doing anything and adopt policies that tightly restrict employees use not only at work but off working hours as well.  This is a problem because social media isn’t going away and is necessary today and even more so in the future for companies and organizations to succeed.  By burying their heads in the sand, these organizations will create a negative and oppressive culture that will be harder to turn around later on.

Too Much too Soon

On the other side, are those organizations that rush pell mell into social networking and don’t think about the risks they are exposing themselves too and how a lack of a coherent social networking strategy will create headaches for them in the future.

Assessment is the Key

Start with your social networking strategy, inventory the current social networking use both by the organization as a whole and employees individually, review all your manuals and procedures, have key members of your organization learn about social networking and then think about how to apply it to the business and finally take the time to develop a modular approach to creating policies are part of an ongoing process that doesn’t end when the first iteration is released.  A culture that embraces social media thinking will do better than a culture of merely social networking doing or not doing.

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