Hanging out your dirty laundry?

More and more people are discovering social media on the internet and so are the things you do not want to see out there.  It is like hanging your dirty laundry outside.  The worst part is that your company’s image can easily be tarnished and there is nothing you did to stop that from happening.

I am sure you saw the picture last week of the transit ticket collector asleep at his desk (http://mashable.com/2010/01/23/napping-ttc-twitpic/) or heard other war stories.  This obviously is not great for the individual but it tarnishes the image of company and stirs up heated discussions.  In the past this type of pictures would have been sent by email to friends, but today social media can make it viral and generate a lot of bad press.

BTW – Most of these “unfortunate” moments are posted by employees who do not realize that this information is public and can go around the world quickly!

While it’s unfortunate that this worker has become the center of controversy, he helps teach us an important lesson: be conscious of the actions you take, because anybody can post what you do online and spread it like a forest fire.

At this point I call for the introduction of a social media/networking policy within all companies.  I can hear you say, that this exists in my company… Well think again!  For sales and marketing individuals the answer is yes, but what about the guys in the accounting department or shipping?  They participate in social networking without always knowing how it works and what the consequences are.  Why?  No one every told them.  They signed up and never read the instructions.  And we know what happens then.

The Social Networking Policy should focus on creating awareness with ALL (and not just sales and marketing people) what public social media/networking really is, its dangers and set forward a number of guidelines (call it a policy – code of conduct  just like you have for use of cell phones, desk phones, company cars, etc.) on how to participate in this social media world safely.

Will this cure all? No, but it will regulate a lot controversy.

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