Posts Tagged ‘IT policies’

Will Live-streaming throw our privacy completely overboard?

April 2, 2015

The world of social media is changing at a quick pace and some innovations make it even shake in its foundations.  It has been touted that 2015 was going to be the year of the video.  But what is happening now is just mind boggling.  Personally, I love it! Live-streaming has just gone personal!  Meerkat and Periscope are among the shakers in this field.

meerkat

What is meerkat or Periscope?

Live-streaming is nothing new but personal live-streaming surely is.  Meerkat and Periscope are personal live-streaming video apps using a twitter account to rally viewers and share live video content.  We are even more at the point of being a reporter with camera in hand (our smartphone) than with pictures.  And yes, today the service is only available for Iphone users.  Below is an infographic comparing the 2 main players.

infographic meerkat

Meerkat was the first to jump the gun and soon had many followers (over 100K in less than a month).  But then came along Periscope (by Twitter) and the steep rise stopped in favor of Periscope.  Who will be the winner?  I guess the app that gets soonest on Android/Microsoft, I think!

The potential of live video streaming is huge.  Creative marketers will be able to feast on new things they can do starting with streaming product launches, product demonstration, events, interviews, promotions and much more.

However, the biggest issue still has to be tackled.  Privacy is hitting yet another tilting point.

What privacy?

Privacy and the internet are an oxymoron and contradiction anyway.  But these apps hold the potential for many more breaches.  It could be a nightmare in the waiting.  Looking at the terms of use of both platforms (MeerkatPeriscope) they are dodging all responsibility and beyond.

Here is an interesting paragraph from Meerkat

All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may, but are not required to monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and we cannot take responsibility for such Content. Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk.”

But beware and please read carefully the section after the word “reproduce”:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. In order to make the Services available to you and other users, Meerkat needs a license from you. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

The service claims not to store the video but are you really sure?  I would suggest you read these Terms of Service agreements carefully.

But again, you will ask me “Where is the privacy issue?”

stopWell, what if people start streaming live video from a paying event? Of from a soccer game where a TV station has paid the screening rights?  What if you are filmed and have not given your consent?  What if people start streaming video from places where disasters have happened?  These are all situations that will raise the bar in the privacy game.  And yes, the first events where Meerkat was banned are a fact.  But how can you stop this?  You can’t ask people to check in their smartphone when they come to your event.  Interesting times ahead!

Finally a last thought. If this service would have been offered by Facebook, the world would have been up in arms around the privacy issues but for now people focus on meerkat-in-carthe gadget level of these apps as if there is no issue.  We hear a lot of speak about using your common sense or like Meerkat puts in its rules “Be Kind”.  We all know where that road leads to.

Let me be clear that I am very excited to see these evolutions and technology appear. I will be a supporter from day 1 but will keep a close eye on the dark side of this technology.  I wonder what you think about this technology and the privacy issues that it entails.

Social Media Policies in Belgium (Part 1) – Only 1 in 5 company has one!

December 8, 2012

Social Media Policies have found their entrance into large corporation but the small and especially the medium sized companies have not created and implemented  such social media policies.

Earlier this year PayScale released some results about the adoption of Social Media Policies in the USA (http://mashable.com/2012/06/10/employer-social-media/).  The conclusion was that over 50% of the companies had a formal social media policy.  But how do Belgian businesses match up to these numbers?

A recent survey (October 2012) done via Vanguard Leadership has revealed that only 1 company in 5 has a social media policy in Belgium.  And since Belgium is a country of Small and Medium sized business, we can conclude that the 20% of companies that have a social media policy are mainly  the larger companies.

SoMe IN BE

The same survey uncovered that  65% of the employees accessed Facebook, 52% LinkedIn and 53% Twitter daily during work hours.  You would think that social media policies would be more common since employers are worried about their employees wasting time or damaging the reputation of their company on social media.

SoME in BE 2

A first conclusion is that companies are not always aware that their employees are very active on social media.  Though these companies are aware that such a policy is a must they do not create or implement a policy or guidelines until they have an “accident” which leads to reputation loss.  Over the course of the year we have witnessed several of these examples (e.g. Ikea in Belgium – http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=GVB3M9AGE) where a social media policy is created after the reputation damage was detected.

More information to come about the results of this survey in next blog posts.

Notes about the survey:  Over 200 companies were surveyed.  About 50% have less than 50 employees, 30% have less than 250 employees and  and 20% were larger than 500 employees.

Who controls the social media policy creation?

May 29, 2012

We all know that control and social media are contradictory, but that is what people and companies think you achieve through a social media policy.

Where in the past social media was the exclusive playing field of marketing, today HR, sales and other departments are finding great benefits in social media.  These departments are discovering new platforms or uses for existing platforms to benefit their departments.  So with this expanding usage of social media, comes the awareness that a social media policy is needed.

Today I am seeing a new battle arise, namely who will create the social media policy.  A number of departments are trying to pull that creation of such a much needed policy to them.  However, there are 3 clear main drivers: HR, marketing and IT. They do this for different reasons.

But first, the creation of a social media policy is project that is done in a number of different ways today.   Some resort to an automated tool to create a policy.  It goes without saying that this can’t be the full answer.  Others will surf the internet for a policy and do a copy/paste, this is a better approach but the reality is that your social media policy is not the same as the one from any other company and thus requires a personal approach.

In order to reflect all requirements and wishes within the company, a number of departments must be included in the creation of such a policy.  Each department will bring their unique experience, skills and motivation for the policy to the table.  No department alone should be dominating this effort.  Here is some experience from real life why.

Marketing wants to control all messaging by being in charge while having free reign.  They will try to create either a minimalistic policy (“use your common sense” as only rule) or control the usage by a detailed “how to use social media handbook”.

HR wants to limit the risk, liability and time usage.  Though they do bring the skill of creating successful policies to the table, their angle will be focused on “do not …” rather than “do…” or “become…”.

IT will be concerned about bandwidth and IT security and their driver will be shut down as much as possible in terms of access to social media.

Legal will for liability reasons be trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s in terms. Most of the time this achieved through complex wording that no one understands (cfr. Terms of services of most social media platforms).

Employee will either want as much as possible access to social media with nearly no rules or guidelines while others will want nothing to do with it.  The contributors will be giving the social media policy makers the real insight to the use of social media in the company and they should be considered valued contributors.

Unions are a much dreaded group of contributors.  Companies are afraid to involve them in the process.  However, since policies must also be reviewed, approved or endorsed by these unions, who by the way also use social media, they are critical to implementing social media policies successfully.

In my personal experience, creating a 2 page or 20 page social media policy (guideline or handbook), you need to have all these people and departments involved in the project to create a personalized and integrated social media policy for your company.  To make the roll-out process a success you need to accompany this project with social media awareness sessions and/or training.

Do you have different views? I love to hear from you!

The anatomy of a good social media policy

March 7, 2012

Whether your company is active on social media, your employees probably are.  So you should have a policy.  Over the course of the last few years I have been involved in writing and reviewing a lot of social media policies around the world.  It is becoming clear that social media policies have some kind of anatomy.

Of course, there is not “one fits all” solution since every company has its own needs and wants.  I would like to share with you what I am seeing as best practice components in social media policies.

Here are the different section one could have in a policy

1. Why do you have a social media policy?

In general employees do not like policies.  But protecting the reputation of your company is every employee’s duty and that is what a policy should attempt to achieve.  You can carve your policy in such a way that your employees are your ambassadors

2. What is social media?

Most of your employees have a limited view of what social media really is.  It is more than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  A good definition of what you as company understand under social media will help you set the scene.

3. Which social media and networks are we talking about?

It is good idea to name the major different social media platforms, what they are best used for and what the benefits and dangers are.

4. To whom does the policy apply?

Different types of people are working in companies.  Of course you have employees of which some are spokespeople.  Many companies also employ contractors or free-lancers and you need to decide whether your policy will also apply to these people.  You might need a subtract for them.

5. How to get access of social media?

In some companies you still need to ask permission to access the internet and/or social media. We tend to think that this practice is becoming extinct but still many companies block access to social media for the majority of their employees under the umbrella of productivity loss.  That is what the social media policy is trying to address.

6. Definition of Terms

In this section you will define the difference between policy and guideline, personal vs professional use, employee vs spokesperson, etc.

7. Social Media Policy

It is clear that some items must be policy (use of logo’s, spokepeople, disclaimers, creation and ownership of accounts, etc.)

    1. For spokespeople
    2. For employees
    3. For contractors

8. Social Media guidelines

The social media guideline will help your employees protect their own reputation and thus also the reputation of the company.  In this section you will find items such as authenticity, correct errors, honesty, suggestion of identity and email addresses, etc.

9. Where can you your company on social media? And how are you using it?

Do not assume that your employees know what social media you are using as a company.  A lot of companies do not mention their accounts on website and leave it up to their employees to discover where they are.  This practice will make sure that all your employees know what the official accounts are.

It is also a best practice to tell your employees what you are using these social media accounts for.  Let’s call it leading by example.

10. How do you handle mentions (positive and negative)?

We all know that companies and people are talked about.  Many companies have some kind of social media monitoring but many more do not.  So if your employees who can be your eyes and ears in social media (provided they are your ambassadors) see any message, they need to know what the procedure is to handle these mentions or posts.

11. Where do you get help for your Social Media

As companies are gearing up for social media, it is also a good idea to setup a help desk or a social media help account (which could be any employee within the company).  Indicate in your policy who these people are and where you can get the necessary training.

12. Tips and tricks

Nothing works better to create ambassadors than provide tips and trick so you should include examples with tips and tricks.

I understand that including all these sections can lead to a long document that people might not read which brings me to a final point about a social media policy.  The key to success is the roll out phase. That’s the moment where you can create a simple hand-out or give-away that supports the introduction and announcement of the policy.  You can really get creative with this and get a lot of support for your policy.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Trade Unions and Social Media Policies: an explosive mixture

February 20, 2011

I am looking with a lot of interest at the actions of trade unions when it comes to social media policies in companies.  Over the last months several court cases, which I do not care to mention (just Google “social media policy union”), have made the news and have spread via different media across the world.  It is true that currently most of the controversy is coming out of the US but I am sure in time we will have similar discussions in Europe.

There are 2 points that intrigue me:

  • Trade Unions about Social Media policies
  • Social Media policy in Trade Unions

I know that I am touching on very sensitive points.  So I think we need to face this topic before more discussions end up as social media cases.

Trade Unions about Social Media Policies

As more and more companies are seriously beginning to look at creating and implementing a Social Media Policy to control their employees, it raises more attention with the trade unions.  We all know that controlling social media is impossible!  So what am I seeing?

  • Some companies have realized that rather than creating a strict policy it is better (for company ambassadorship) to provide guidelines to the employees.
  • More and more companies are involving different functions and departments during the creation phase of a policy. We see HR, marketing and IT collaborate on such policies.

My recommendation, however, is that you make the trade unions part of your project team to create the company social media policy.  Daring?  Impossible?  Not!  Speaking from experience, it can be done!

Social Media Policies in Trade Unions

Source: Alexwhite.org

Trade Union members are active on social media, let’s not deny this.  While most are there from a personal point of view, some are their as a trade union member.  This brings me to wonder if trade unions have their own social media policy or even social media guidelines since they are a brand too. What guidelines or policies are in place for trade union members to react via social media?  Just imaging how much damage the trade union brand and reputation could suffer from not having these guidelines. So far, I have not found one trade union that has published a policy but it would be interesting to see what their guidelines/policy looks like.

My recommendation is that Trade Unions should create, implement, communicate and publish their social media policy so their members do not hang out the trade union’s dirty laundry.

Conclusion

My business mantra is that you can complain about a problem but you need to come up with at least one solution.  So if trade unions are going to fight social media policies, they need to have one themselves and companies must include the trade unions in their social media project creation and delivery teams.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Are we dumb? Lazy? Or naive?

December 11, 2010

We are joining social media platforms and making new friends every day.  Moreover, we even become friends with people we have never met before.  Some people pride themselves in having as many friends as possible and this is not without danger.

When horror stories began to appear in the US, we Europeans had some good giggles about all those stupid and silly things some people did.  Whether they were comments on Facebook, messages on Twitter or videos on YouTube, we could not believe our ears.  We got confirmation of the statement “only in the USA something like this can happen”.  It would not happen in Europe.  We, Europeans, know much better what privacy is plus we even think that our privacy is well protected.  Not to say, that we think we are smarter.  But nothing is further from the truth.  Looking at the newspapers over the last weeks, European horror stories are featured daily and they are not any different than we one’s we laughed at. Why?  Are we as dumb as the Americans or are we as naïf as they are?

Many of us are just unaware of the dangers of social media.  By providing information about yourself on social media you are giving up your right to privacy.  All the information is stored on a server “somewhere” in the world so how can you protect that data?  Of course, social media platforms provide a number of security and privacy settings but your data is still in the cloud and you have no control over it.  Luckily, I see a number of social media policies that clearly state that you give up your right to privacy when you participate to social media but the issue is that most people do not know of the existence of such a policy in their company not to say they have not read them.

Sometime ago I read a great quote by Sam Lessin: “Privacy used to be cheap but now it is a precious good that is expensive to keep”.  Even though this is very correct, I do not entirely subscribe to it.  I want to argue that if you do not want people to know certain details about you, you should just not post or share it on any social media platform.  Privacy is at your own discretion and under your control – End of story and free of charge!

The problem might have deeper roots.  It starts with the fact that 95% of us who participate in social media never read the terms of service of those platforms.  We press “I accept” within seconds since we really have no choice when we want to participate.  It continues with the fact that 50% never changes the standard privacy and security settings and thus opens the can of worms even further.  Finally, no one ever reads a book or manual on how to use the different platforms and that is where the biggest problem is lingering.  Did you ever read a book about Facebook or Twitter?  We no longer read manuals in general (even if we buy a car, mobile phone or digital camera) and are unaware of the pitfalls.  Is that not just the recipe for disaster?

Is there a role for government, business or the general education system here?  Yes, I am convinced of it.  People need this information and built up these skills so they can reduce these types of horror stories.  True, it is up to the individual to take some action but still a gentle push can go a long way.  Or even better, put a “how to use social media” manual or book under the Christmas tree this year for all your friends and beloved family and make them read it.

hospitals and their social media policy

October 31, 2010


I did not think I was going to write so quickly a follow up to my last week’s post on social media in the hospital area, but my interest was peaked this week by a poll I saw via Twitter (@reedsmith).

The polls asked the question whether the organization/hospital had a social media media policy.  The result was somewhat amazing.

72% of the people who answered (25 answers) the poll said they did have a policy.  This number is very high but due to the fact that on average only 1 in 3 has a policy.  The fact that this poll was run through Twitter probably skewed the results.  The users are already on social media and thus somewhat likely to have a policy.

Looking at some publicly published policies, the areas that are covered can be summarized as:

  • Clear definition on where the medical facility stands when it comes to social media and what usage during and off work-time.
  • Commenting guidelines and rules
    • Focus on positive comments
    • posts with abusive and offensive language will be removed
    • posts with personal attack  will be removed
    • All spam-like posts will be removed
  • Blogging guidelines including the use of disclaimers in both directions (medical facility and the commenter)
  • Identity and affiliation with the medical facility
  • Use of code of ethics including all other applicable policies
  • General rules of conduct (add value, be smart, be authentic, etc.)

Though it is great to see that there are good examples of social media policies being put in place?  There are in my opinion 3 major components missing in these types of policies:

  • What are the clear guidelines to deal with negative comments?  What is the plan?  Who is the go-to person/department?
  • What monitoring is being done to make sure this policy is being “enforced”?
  • How has the policy been communicated to the employees?  Just put on the intra-net does not do it.

So as a conclusion, I think that having guidelines for your employees is great, but they need to communicated and monitored effectively so. People must know what can and can not be done and what to do in cases of emergencies.

Are you checking in into your hospital?

October 24, 2010

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a Belgian journalist (Peter Backx, editor of the Artsenkrant) asking if I had any data on whether the Belgian hospitals had any presence in social media. I was intrigued by the question and did some research which I will discuss later on in this blog.

The first question that comes to mind when such an inquiry pops up is whether and what hospitals are doing anywhere else in this world. Hospitals are mostly risk and discussion averse which completely opposite of social media. New projects are meticulously planned and kept under good cover. But still it seems that in the USA hospitals are embracing social media big time. From Facebook over Twitter to YouTube! Hospitals are finding their way to applications to increase their customer service, training (both patients and nurses), PR and crisis communication. There are several great examples around (Mayo Clinic, University of Maryland, etc.). A source of information is slideshare where there are some great presentations available on the subject.

Looking closer to home, Lucien Engelen recently noticed a significant increase in the social media presence in Holland. The number shot up from single digits to 30% presence in different types of social media. Similar to the USA, Dutch hospitals are uploading videos on YouTube, tweeting or posting messages on both Facebook and LinkedIn. One reason might be that hospitals are for profit and consider their patients potential clients (instead of just sick people). Another reason is that the effort of joining social media is headed up by HR which hopes to find new employees.

But what about Belgium? It is safe to say that the social movement has not hit our Belgian hospitals. There are some that are starting but a limited amount has social media profiles on LinkedIn (25), Facebook (even less), Twitter (single digits). Most of the social media is driven by individual contributors that are not acting on behalf of the hospital which could in term lead to some confusing and misleading representation and will have to be addressed by a social media policy.

So what is the next step? Since more and more patients are using social media to diagnose themselves before going to any care provider, hospitals should join the movement, know what is being said and actually contribute to the knowledge.

There are 5 steps that must be taken:

• Creation of an overall strategy which includes social media

• Create a social media policy and guidelines to help streamline the social media efforts

• Create the necessary profiles

• Take active part in social media (conversation and not just outward communication)

• Monitor social media

By being proactive they will be able to become a more trusted partner for the patient.

Contact Centers disconnected!

October 10, 2010

This week I had the pleasure of sitting in a panel at the Belgian national conference for contact centers.  Since the theme of the conference was “look who is talking”, it seemed appropriate the discussion touched on social media.  To my big surprise, social media seems to be an unknown and much feared topic within the contact centers environment.

Will virtual communities replace contact centers?

The biggest fear seems to come from the fact that people are going to switch from a contact center to virtual communities to get their questions answered or to find information.  To a certain degree this is true but I am convinced that there will always be a place for these contact centers.  Not everyone is online and some of us rather talk to a human being via the phone. Some companies are using Skype-like solutions to talk with their customers as Rabo Bank from Holland demonstrated.

Conclusion 1: Customers will use the channel that fits their needs and behaviors to find information.  After the hype, a new balance between will established and social media will be part of it.

Conclusion 2: Contact centers should add the social media channel to their product offering to be more attractive to both the company and the customers.

Contact centers are not connected to social media while their clients and employees are.

My quick research and market study project confirmed that less than 50% of the members of the Belgian contact center association (90 companies strong) have a social media profile.  Of those who do have one we can safely say that they operate in an international environment.  Checking some of the monitoring, the results are in line with my previously published study (40% twitter response and less than 5% Facebook response)  Keep in mind that most of the companies that replied are international companies.

The main reason for this disconnect seems to be the fear of the negativism.  Contact centers do have a “bad” reputation and they are not looking for yet another channel to get bashed.  Plus there are not that many public success stories around social media in contact centers.  The fear of the unknown and inexperience are a close second and third in terms of why contact centers are not on social media.

Conclusion: It is safe to state, that these most of the companies are not connected to or do not even monitor what is being said about them in social media.  It is certainly not a service they offer to their clients. An opportunity lost? Or a unique selling point for further business?

Modern media and technology require a super agents in the contact center.

Here it becomes really clear that contact centers underestimate the qualities and skills of the people they hire.  They forget that most people (and there are over 3.5 million Belgians on Facebook – just to name one) are taking part in social media before or after working hours. I am sure that some even take part during working hours through their mobile devices.

Conclusion: What is really needed is a good code of conduct, call it is a social media policy, and some advice on how to behave correctly on behalf of the company (language, tone of voice, etc.) in the same manner they get when they are behind a phone.

What is next?

In the new balance of contact channels, it is clear that social media will find its place.  It will not replace the contact center but it will help further redefine their operational model.  Contact centers should embrace social media to both serve their client companies as well as find new employees that understand fully this medium.

Implementing a social media policy and monitoring tools should be at the top of the agenda of priorities for 2011. These are going to be key to the success and level of professionalism of the contact centers.

There is no way around it, join or lose customers!

I would love to hear you your feedback, experiences and comments.

Mic Adam

Are companies listening to their social media accounts?

September 8, 2010

Social media is growing at phenomenal rate.  The popularity of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Video and Photo platforms together with the ease of use of technology is now making social media a great tool for companies and their marketers to get closer to their customers.  So many companies are taking steps towards social media.

However, social media implies two-way communication (interaction with/engagement of the customers) and presents therefore a number of new challenges for companies: visibility, monitoring and engagement.  When these 3 elements are ignored, a lot of opportunities are lost.  It also demonstrates that social media is not integrated into the company strategy.  The market study looks at all 3 areas.

Limited visibility.

Many companies (71%) do have some kind of presence in social media meaning a business profile, but less 1 in 4 (25%) make that visible on their website.  LinkedIn seems to be most popular social media platform where companies have such a profile.  Facebook and Twitter are still not much used by companies.

Are you really listening?

When it comes to listening, there are 3 types that should be covered: (1) What is said in the “cloud of social media platforms” about the company, its brands and its people; (2) What is posted on the social media platforms/profiles of the companies (opportunities to engage) (3) What are your own employees posting on social media platforms .  The research revealed that companies are not listening… Twitter is the best monitored social media platform, while Facebook is really used as additional advertising channel.

No, Lack of engagement!

Social media platforms are mainly used as a marketing tool and messages left on company pages are a lot of the time left unanswered.  Only 45% of all Twitter messages were responded to while less than 5% of the messages on Facebook were answered!

Individuals responsible for corporate social media accounts – if companies have appointed them – treat the company social media profiles with far less respect and professionalism than their own personal accounts.

This research is the result of a market study done by Vanguard Leadership in August 2010.  In this market study we have used social media and the internet to build the dataset.  We have analyzed 540 websites of companies (from Bel-20 over Trends Gazellen to general companies across all sectors).  Monitoring was done by posting messages on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to check the monitoring behavior and response of companies.  The complete report and the presentation can be found on slideshare (report: http://slidesha.re/cN7RF9 or http://scr.bi/9LrqbO – presentation: http://slidesha.re/8XeWhg or http://scr.bi/cxifMV).

Contact:

Mic Adam

Social Media Policy Creator/General Manager

Adammic@vanguard-leadership.be

Phone: +32 478 50 41 35