Posts Tagged ‘social networking policies’

Hand Over Social Media Passwords Jobseekers!

February 24, 2011

This news from the Maryland Attorney General could end up in litigation.  Mr. Gansler says that a propsective Maryland state employee can be required to turn over his or her social networking log-on information as a condition of employment.

The reason for such an invasive requirement is for prospective prison guards and to insure that they aren’t involved in gang activity. However, I have to wonder if there aren’t less invasive ways to get the same information.  Also, will such social networking scrutiny lead to finding out this information anyway?  Do people involved in gang activity post the fact on Facebook?

Law Enforcement Adopting Social Media Policies

January 5, 2011

Everybody is getting into the act.  Now even police and sheriff departments are drafting social media policy because they are interacting with the public in a variety of ways and need to have policies in place to make sure that officers are conducting themselves online as they do in person.


Utilizing Social Media for Hiring – the Right Way

December 1, 2010

This article proposes ways an employer can both use social networking information in recruiting and screening and avoiding a possible lawsuit from a disgruntled, rejected job candidate.

One way would be to set out screening policy that are focused only on job qualifications and then to also create an objective screening matrix that the employer uses.  That will help the employer win lawsuits though not necessarily avoid the filing of lawsuits.

Intel: Carving out a Social Media Niche

November 25, 2010

This is an interesting article on how Intel is approaching social media and what its concerns are moving forward.  Here is a quote that makes me curious to know more:

The Social Media Center of Excellence is part of the marketing strategies and campaigns team. We report to Nancy Bhagat, VP of sales and marketing, and then ultimately to Deborah Conrad, our VP and chief marketing officer. Our role is to drive strategy, enablement and, to some extent, activation for social media at Intel. So we manage the guidelines and the governance, making sure that social media practitioners all around the company—both in the corporate marketing group and in the other business units—are up to speed on the latest guidelines. For example, they need to represent the fact that they are with Intel in their Twitter handles and their blogs. So we do a lot of training and education.

On the issue of having employees identify themselves on Twitter as being with Intel, I wonder if the company also mandates that the employees use an Intel domain email address in order to comply with electronic discovery rules?

Social Media Policies: One Size not for All

November 18, 2010

Here is a thoughtful article from an a trade secret lawyer, a partner in a law firm about how to proceed in utilizing social networking without jeopardizing the company’s trade secrets.  Ms. Edelson rightly promotes the importance of employee training in social networking to insure they won’t be negligent in their use of social networking.  She also makes an important point that use of restrictive privacy settings doesn’t necessarily provide trade secret protection.

Industry, Culture, Industry, Culture

However, I don’t think its possible to discuss “trade secrets” without considering the culture and industry of a specific business.  An online retailer is dealing with a vastly different market than a company that sells paper supplies to government entities.  And I think Ms. Edelson’s perspective is much more suited to the latter than the former.  If a business isn’t able to communicate effectively and thereby sell effectively to a tech-savvy clientele, then the protection of its trade secrets takes a back seat to generating revenue and turning a profit.   I’m not a trade secret expert and Ms. Edelson’s suggestions seem appropriate and helpful but I do think when writing for “businesses” its important to understand you are talking to a wildly varied audience.

Big Corporations Showing Twitter the Love

November 11, 2010

This survey by shows that Fortune 500 corporations are embracing Twitter big time – 60% now have a corporate Twitter account versus 35% in 2009.  The biggest industry adopters are specialty retail, consumer goods and insurance.

My question to that 60% is: do you have social networking policies that effectively protect your interests in the free-wheeling 2.0 Internet world?

Do you know where your ESI polices are?

October 5, 2010

According to this survey, only 38% of organizations have tested their ESI (Electronically Stored Information) policies and 45% have no idea whether they have been tested or not.  This could be particularly problematic with information relating to social networking.

Difficult Scenario

An organization has enabled it’s sales team to create Twitter accounts for themselves to improve visibility and responsiveness to client or potential client needs.  The organization doesn’t have a policy for how employees should set up the email for these Twitter accounts and some employees decide to use a personal account.  If a legal issue arises related to that employee’s use of Twitter, how will the organization gather the relevant data that might be stored only in the employer – or perhaps by this point, ex-employee’s – personal email host?

On the other hand

Do organizations always want employees using their work domain for social networking traffic?  Particularly if employees are commingling personal and business information in their social media correspondence.  Clearly, each organization much look at these issues thoroughly in order to wade through the increasingly muddy social media waters.

Another School District’s Social Media Approach

September 22, 2010

Yesterday I blogged about about the Franklin School District in New Hampshire’s extremely restrictive social networking policy that prohibits any posting to social media sites.

Here is an article about a school district with a different approach.   They forbid “negative” posting by teachers about students, school district or employees.  Further it would require teachers to get written consent from student parents before engaging with them through social networking.  Even still, there is a question that the school district maybe violating teachers’ First Amendment rights with this policy.

One size does NOT fit all – social media policies

September 16, 2010

Here is a great resource for examining the variety of social networking policies and after a quick glance I have realize that all social networking policies are not created equal.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is your policy for all employees?
  • Can an umbrella policy cover activities of all your employees?
  • How would you classify the nature of your business, industry, product, service, employees?
  • What kind of social networking activity would you want to promote?
  • What kind of social networking would like to discourage?
  • Is your business a trend-setter?
  • Is it a conservative, traditional business?
  • Is the company brand tied to a specific individual or not? (Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, Larry Ellison)
  • Do you want your company brand to be more personalized?

Few U.S. Companies have social media policies

August 10, 2010

According to a 2010 Manpower report, less than 30% of companies have social networking policies. This was cited in this article about social networking policies for companies which has some good advice including to update the policies on an “as needed” basis as well as training employees on the policies.

Social networking training

Beyond training on the policy, I would encourage companies to provide hands-on training to employees on the professional use of social networking not just a dry lecture on the policies.

One size doesn’t fit all

Companies should also consider adopting policies based on user groups.  Sales professionals will have a different need for social networking than will manufacturing or finance personnel and it makes sense to have a stricter policy for people who shouldn’t be interacting with clients than from those who should be.