The Business-Technology Weave

May 3 2011   3:53AM GMT

Social Media and Harsh New Realities

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


We’ve spoken of social media perils in the past.  For companies, there is liability in “friending” (on work time) one moment, then bringing an undue voice and sensibility to “businessing” the next, having just exited the party of social networking on social media such as Facebook and MySpace.


Let’s look at the personal for a moment, and related peril:  Social media is now being used in 90% of a Florida attorney’s divorce cases. 

Carin Constantine says, “You get a little bit of everything, that happens on Facebook.  Everything from clients coming in with pictures of the opposing party doing a keg stand with high schoolers… to teenagers drinking alcohol served by a parent… to a picture of a husband at a nightclub dancing with a babysitter.”  (Source:  10News, St. Petersburg, FL)

At present, Facebook is cited in a fifth of divorce cases in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

This ubiquitous use of social media exists in the workplace, too.  Increasingly, employees are wasting work time on social media, holding business work at bay.  It’s ok to utilize social media for marketing, business contacting, business communications, and other sanctioned business use.  However, employees are frequently frittering away precious business time, during the business day, updating friends and acquaintances on purely personal matters – and other things.

Those “other things” frequently regard ruminations on the boss, co-workers, or some measure of business that is characterized in a less than flattering way. 

Take heed:  An increasing number of employers are monitoring employees through social media – both in terms of personal behavior, in adjudging suitability for promotion or even continued occupancy in the organization – as well as for the aforementioned lack of judgment in discussing business matters, and for simple waste of business time.  Your boss may be making regular checks – how will you know? – and increasingly, Human Resources departments are assembling documentation in backing up personnel actions involving discipline and dismissals.

If you are the boss – any measure of management with any measure of people reporting to you – apprise those people of the proper sanctions and expectations.  Provide orientations and warnings regarding social media:  Its use (if any), the limitations, and the perils to avoid.

In all regards, personal and business, be circumspect in your use of social media and networking. 

Remember:  People judge you by the company you keep, and for the things you say and do.   That holds true for the online world too, in this still relatively new world of social media. 


Yesterday:  Congratulations to Navy SEAL Team 6.


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