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Social Networking in the Corporate Environment

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Most people are now involved in one or more of the social networking sites that are available online such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter to name a few.

The focus behind social networking is building an online community that shares some common interest. They are mostly web-based and provide a variety of ways to interact such as through your web browser, instant messaging and by email. This isn’t necessarily accessed through your computer, a lot of is now through mobile devices such as iPhones and Blackberries.

Social networking is excellent at reviving old contacts, helping advertise you and your business, and maintaining contacts. It can also be seen as time theft. I would go so far as saying many people even have an addiction that needs to be addressed. There are also risks that need to be considered such as data leakage, identity theft, and virus infections.

Policies should be added regarding your corporations position on social networks as employees may assume that it is authorized without a corporate policy governing acceptable use of the technologies. There are also ways to block access to certain sites through your Internet connection.

One should be careful to ensure these technologies are appropriate for your organization and that the risks do not outweigh the benefits.

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12 Comments
  1. For personal usage, these social networking sites sprouting like mushrooms could really work well for anybody else. But, for corporate matters, there can really be some serious danger that needs to be properly addressed be looked into carefully. Infiltration is very rampant in the computer world, so anyone, not just corporations, should be very observant and cautious.

    • Aside from corporate security risks, having access to social networking sites also can lower employees’ productivity. Some people can be very addicted to Facebook or Twitter that they’d take too long to finish their tasks because they’re checking their pages from time to time.

      On another hand, I’ve read somewhere that some companies look at your social networking profiles and make decisions like hiring or promoting based on what they see.

      • I’ve seen social networking platforms strictly for internal use. This is for companies with multiple offices, with staff ranging in the thousands. It might be useful to do this to ensure employee morale, as well as foster an environment where collaboration is encouraged.

        That being said, lowering productivity is definitely an issue when you allow employees the freedom of “creeping” their social network. Have you seen that hottie over in accounting?

      • Yes, social networking can have consequences for your professional life in getting hired…or not.

        You can also put yourself at risk of getting fired for what you post about your current employer. Some of these firings are legal and have been upheld and other firings have been illegal. It’s a developing area in the law. I read this recently.
        http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/05/24/facebook-twitter-get-employees-fired/

        Very instructive!

        But overall, yes, I agree about the impact of social networking on productivity. People are spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

        • My employer has gone so far as to block all social networking sites from our workplace computers. There are very few websites left unblocked that we can actually visit while at work. The result is everyone taking bathroom breaks to check their social media on their smart phones. I believe in free speech. I don’t think employers should be able to legally fire anyone for posting anything on a social network. Don’t you agree?

          • Heh, that’s right to a degree. But if an employee posts sensitive information or something very damaging to the employers, I wouldn’t really mind if some people get fired. Of course, it really depends on the situation. It rarely is as simple as we think it can be.

          • As to whether or not someone gets fired, I think it would all depend on the situation and what is being shared on social media. With free speech also comes responsibility. Violating confidentiality agreements or otherwise revealing sensitive company information is one thing. Expressing one’s complaints and gripes is another, and perhaps that is less egregious. But either way, the impact on a company’s reputation could be quite negative, and it doesn’t surprise me that a company would want to take legal action.

            It’s definitely new territory, legally speaking. It will be interesting to see how this all develops in months and years to come.

      • I understand what you mean. There’s always news about a corporation tweeting something or posting something on facebook that gets them into trouble. There’s also the danger of public employees doing something foolish that reflects negatively on the corporation.

  2. This is such a touchy subject. I don’t think employees should be using social media while at work. It should only be acceptable while on break. This is also a thorny subject because of inappropriate pictures. Friends will end up seeing questionable material in online postings of co-workers which can make the office place awkward.

  3. I am always afraid my ex will find a way into my facebook account. I do see myself using facebook even less than normal. I feel that we give away too much information about ourselves on Facebook and would like this to slow down. We need to be careful on what we post. Some work places are asking that you send them your FB link. I know someone who got denied a job, because her Facebook was private and they felt like she may be hiding something.

  4. This can get you in trouble. I would privitize my social network and only let friends that dont work with you look at your status updates. YOu never know when they can use that against you in HR.

  5. I’ve always seen social networking to not be really that appropriate for professional environments. While networks like LinkedIn can help you, Facebook and Twitter can really hurt you too. Job recruiters look at this stuff, and honestly, there are a lot of other tools that can dig deeper than social networks and look into stuff like places you frequent, etc. Social networks is just another place to pin somebody.

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