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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Social media growing pains

Your friends are not the only ones watching and reading what you say via Facebook status updates. Employers are now monitoring their employees’ social media activity and are more likely to take aggressive action when policies related to multimedia sharing and posting are violated.

According to a new study by Proofpoint, an Internet security firm, of companies with 1,000 or more employees, 17 percent report having issues with employees’ use of social media. And, 8 percent of those companies report having dismissed someone for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s double from last year, where just 4 percent reported having to fire someone over social media misuse.

Some of this can be attributed to a lack of common sense by employees. Dan Leone, an employee of the Philadelphia Eagles is a good example of someone who did not understand the impact a Facebook status update can have. Dan expressed his “displeasure” with the team’s decision to not resign a player. Eagle’s management saw his Facebook post ["Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver ... Dam Eagles R Retarted!!"] and fired Dan.

As Facebook and other social media channels grow, what we as employees say, do, and post does not always stay in our immediate personal network. Companies are continuing to react to the exploding use of a technology that makes it easy for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions with almost anyone. Employees like the freedom to express thoughts and ideas, but may not always understand and acknowledge the impact of their actions.