Monday, February 28, 2011

So much social media, so little time

I just read (thanks, @MollyDiBi) about an attorney in Indiana who was fired for tweeting his views on how pro-labor protesters in Wisconsin should be handled. Perhaps an employee management course is in order for him? But I digress.

I read about this shortly after giving a presentation to a client's workforce about social networking, the workplace, and the blurry line that defines who they are professionally from who they are personally.

Some employees think it's unfair that they aren't allowed to "speak their minds" on matters that are important to them. I fall into that category from time to time (more so during The University of Tennessee's football season than other times of the year). The reality, though, is that we are "followed" by more than just our closest friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. Thus, many people don't know us well enough to understand when it is "Laura A. Steel, attorney at law" speaking versus "Laura Steel Woods, rabid UT fan" speaking.

And that's our trade-off for participating in, and allowing employees to participate in, the social media web. I'm fine with that exchange since I understand my firm's policy on taking stands and sharing views. Are your employees familiar with your policy? If you aren't sure, it's best to over-educate than to learn the hard way that someone thought her innocuous post about the Communism-inspired traffic light cameras actually stirred up a little trouble in the community.

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