Social Media in the workplace

I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference about the use of social media in business. For many of us using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) is a huge leap from the communication style that we are familiar with. Recent studies illustrate the importance of becoming educated in the use and benefits of social media.
“If you’re not tweeting about your business–someone else is. If you’re not setting your own business message on Twitter–someone else is. But more importantly, if you’re not listening to what your customers (and potential customers) are saying on Twitter–someone else is.”

Employers everywhere are using social networks to screen job candidates, so be sure that what you post online about yourself isn’t going to impact you negatively in the future. In a study conducted by Harris interactive for, 45% of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates and 35% decided not to offer a job to a candidate based on the content uncovered on a social networking site. Over 50% of employers said that provocative photos were the biggest factor contributing to not hiring a potential employee. 44% of employers pinpointed references to drinking and drug use as red flags.

Have you defined who gets to use social media in the workplace? Be aware of how much time your employees are spending on social network. Consider how much bandwidth is wasted by employees downloading from YouTube, or the security challenges that you face from browsing infected pages.

According to a study by information security consultancy Global Secure Systems and the organizers of the Infosecurity Europe trade show, the use of such sites is costing U.K. business an estimated $12.5 billion per year in terms of reduced output.
About 64 per cent of U.S. companies deny their employees access to sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, according to a survey by Clearswift, a London, UK-based provider of content security. In addition, 14 per cent have had to discipline staff for data loss and seven per cent for posting inappropriate content on social sites, but only 36 per cent have a policy covering such usage.

It’s probably well worth our time to investigate the benefits and risks associated with the use of social media in our workplaces.

-Thanks to Mark Fancourt-Smith of Fasken Martineau for some of this information, and for a really interesting presentation on “Tips to avoid a risk management nightmare..


Originally posted June 22, 2010 by Linda Weismiller

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