What should your company’s social media policy be?
Some employees access twitter and facebook at work. Some have applications on their company provided handhelds that allow access. Others are blogging about the workplace. What is the right social media/web 2.0 policy? It needs to match company culture and standards. What works for a brokerage firm may not work for an upstart computer gaming company. So what are companies doing? Let’s take a look:
I like Cisco’s policy. It’s long, but the common sense approach is always pragmatic:
Common sense is the best guide if you decide to post information in any way relating to Cisco. If you are unsure about any particular posting, please contact the Cisco "internet postings" email alias for guidance. For instance, if you are writing about Cisco business where you have responsibility, you may wish to make sure your manager is comfortable with your taking that action.
Sun Microsystems wants its employees to consider the consequences:
The worst thing that can happen is a Sun sales pro is in a meeting with a hot prospect, and someone on the customer’s side pulls out a print-out of something you’ve posted and says "This person at Sun says that product sucks." In general, "XXX sucks" is not only risky but unsubtle. Saying "Netbeans needs to have an easier learning curve for the first-time user" is fine; saying "Visual Development Environments for Java suck" is just amateurish. Once again, it’s all about judgment. Using your public voice to trash or embarrass the company, our customers, your co-workers, or yourself is not only dangerous, but not very smart.
Finally, the Department of the Navy ("DON") likes Web 2.0, but security is paramount:
While these collaborative tools present many useful opportunities, their application must not compromise data confidentiality and integrity. SIPRNET provides a secure environment to operate Web 2.0 tools; however, NIPRNET is exposed to external threats that could adversely impact Web 2.0 tool operation and data integrity. Therefore, extra care must be taken when implementing Web 2.0 technologies or integrating these tools into the DON environment.
Policies range from company to company. Some business will encourage blogging, facebooking, or even twittering to help promote their business. Others will prohibit employees from engaging in freelance public relations. At a minimum, there has to be a standard to hold the employee accountable to. Companies need policies.