If there is one thing that every employee needs to remember, it is that the Internet never forgets. While we live in a democracy that propagates free speech, the term ‘free speech’ [for lack of a better term] is not really free. This is especially true for online social interactions.
When was the last time you thought about sharing that photo from last night’s party [where you were a bit tipsy]? Or made comments / taken pot shots at your boss on a public platform? Are you 100% sure that he/she has not seen them?
Here are five things that every employee needs to remember as a subset of workplace behaviour when communicating online.
Lives tend to merge.
Assume that you need training on how to be professional in life, because your professional behavior at work is bound to merge online with your personal life, regardless of how much you try to separate them. This is true for any business or company you work in. Clients do check on you every once in a while, to see if your actions can hurt their association with you. Even if you use privacy tools (determining who can view your page or profile, for instance), assume that everything you write, exchange or receive on a social media site is public.
Know what you are getting into.
Using these sites means that you (and the content you exchange) are subject to their terms of service. This can have legal implications, including the possibility that your interactions could be subject to a third-party subpoena. The network has access to and control over everything you have disclosed to or on that site. For instance, any information might be turned over to law enforcement without your consent or even your knowledge.
I’ve quit! No more social media policies.
Well, not really true. Most companies have clauses that cover employees exiting the company. It may be prudent to note that laws on confidentiality and other guidelines remain binding on you even after you have left the company. You may be sharing memories and your moments of happiness at work. But think twice before you go on a ‘photo tag’ spree during your break before you join the new place.
You are accountable for your actions and what you write and post. Use common sense and good judgment – your statements could have an impact on the company’s reputation. Remember that what you post or publish may be public information for a long time. Internal communications can also end up being public conversations. In fact, violations of these guidelines can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment if the employer sees fit.
Be sensible & Differentiate
Go back in time and remember the feisty political debate you had with a friend which did not end well. Well? It’s now online in cyberspace. Your personal views on politics can remain personal even if they are positive comments. Because you don’t really know what your next interviewer thinks about them. Respect others in your posts and discussions. Social media networks and online communications shouldn’t be used to attack or insult your company, fellow employees, customers, vendors, contractors, suppliers, competitors or others. Be the sensible one here
Source Credits |Internal Memos, Social Media Policies