Social Media in the Workplace

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As I sit at my desk at work, blogging, twittering and linkedin-ing I can’t help but wonder how other businesses are adapting to social media. Are they using it to leverage and promote their brand to a wider audience? Are they concerned that employees will be distracted and unproductive and blocking access to social networks? A quick Google search yielded some interesting articles discussing the pros and cons. I am one of the people who thinks the game has changed, social media represents a cultural shift in the way we not only do business but live our lives. It seems pretty clear that the worst thing to do would be to bury one’s corporate head in the sand and pretend that this new way of communicating is a passing fad. In fact, many companies have already been able to harness the power of social networks and turn it in to a bona fide source for new business (in addition to the traditional companies that use social networks for marketing and business development, many new firms are popping up to help other companies understand and better utilize social networks for commercial purposes). In the popular book Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk extols the benefits of social media and suggests that if your employer does not allow you to blog, tweet, etc.. you should consider quitting and starting your own company. A bit extreme? Perhaps. But at the core, his idea makes sense. At a minimum every company should adopt a corporate social media policy – one that fairly recognizes this cultural shift, allowing employees the freedom to speak out – but, at the same time, does not harm them, their employers or co-workers or the reputation of their company. This will open communication lines, mitigate potential misunderstandings between employers and employees and to avoid the dreaded facebook firing.

In addition to the articles below I have posted in the document library a SAMPLE Social Media policy. A workplace social media policy should be customized for your own firm and you may wish to seek assistance from legal counsel. But this will hopefully provide you with some ideas and a starting point.

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