What is private and what is public anymore? As the line between our worlds becomes blurrier it’s smart for a company or organization to consider how it wants to be represented by its employees. Are they mini-kingdoms of their own who can spout decrees at their discretion or do you want to give some feedback and instruction to what you find acceptable online/social networking behavior?
Kodak has set up an outline of what they consider ways of “Maintaining a good reputation – yours and Kodak’s,” as featured in its Business Conduct Guide. If you are considering such a plan (or already have one) it’s worth taking a look:
- Live the Kodak values. Be respectful. Communicate in a tasteful manner. They also point out the fact that it’s not always what you say that can be deemed offensive or worse, an endorsement. Linking to materials can give the appearance of support and agreement so they urge employees to give links thought. Also, belittling particular practices, people or locations can be hurtful.
- Be transparent. If you post on your private time and are blogging or tweeting about objects or services that could loosely be interpreted as an endorsement: such as photography in the situation of Kodak, be upfront about who you work for. Also, do not use company branding on your private site.
- Keep company information and relationships confidential. Don’t refer to customers, suppliers/vendors, co-workers without their permission. Don’t post pictures or other copyrighted materials without permission and never discuss corporate information – including finances, strategy, R&D, launches, etc. (Providing employees with specifics related to your organization is best. It’s easier to let them know ahead of time what will be accepted than to try and recover from the information leak afterwards. )
- Be truthful. Don’t overpromise or make unsubstantiated claims when concerning corporate products or services. Double-check references and sources as information is constantly changing.
- Be (and remain) level-headed. Don’t get involved in heated discussions. Remain logical and non-emotional in regards to people who do not share your opinion. Be helpful not overly-critical if information presented is incorrect.
- Be in-the-loop. Social media is an instantaneous means of communication. Exchange occurs 24/7. Keep this in mind when you are participating by keeping content relevant and refreshing often.
- Be mindful with personal information. Telling the world where you are at all times may not be in the best interest of safety and security.
- Remain aware of scams. Don’t open attachments unless you trust the source.
- Disable unsafe privileges. Don’t allow others to embed HTML postings, links or attachments to your site. This could allow criminals to install malicious software on your system.
- Adhere to security warnings and pop-ups. They are there for a reason.
What else do you think should be included in this list? It’s a good start.
The point of social media is to allow for connections not impede communication so it is a tightrope that organizations walk when they start making suggestions to their employees on social media usage. Then again, it is your name they’re using out there and they are paid representatives of you. What do you think?