Social Media: No Place in the Workplace?

This is part of our series on Unplug Everyday®. Social media networks have become more than just an avenue for people to share their views. A Jobvite survey shows that 22 million Americans use social media to search for jobs and that 16 percent of these people were employed because of it. Unfortunately, the same social media networks that helped you gain employment can also cause you to be fired.

Effects of social media networks in the workplace

Social media platforms are crucial to how companies connect with the public. They want to use these resources to entice new customers, so they introduce new products on Facebook or Twitter. That’s why it’s so important for companies to develop a professional online identity. However, this marketing tool becomes risky when employees create their own personal accounts which may impact the company’s identity.

Many people use their personal social network accounts to comment about their lives. Unfortunately, few expect these posts to affect their careers. In 2008, 13 flight attendants from Virgin Atlantic were fired for criticizing the company’s safety standards and their passengers on Facebook. And surprisingly, Ashley Payne, a high school teacher, was fired when a picture of her sipping wine while on vacation found its way to Facebook.

The central problem with social media in the workforce is determining where a company’s policies end. Some companies are updating their policies to include rules and regulations about social media. And the National Labor Relations Board has also come out with reports, identifying what topics employees have the right to discuss online without undermining the terms of their employment.

So before you post your opinions online review the policies at your company very carefully. Consider whether the information you are about to share is too personal or possibly inappropriate.