April 21, 2009

Social media: Is citizen empowerment always a good thing?

One of my suggestions closing my post Dominos Pizza Effect a few days ago was focused on the need that companies must seriously consider whether they need to regulate the usage of the Social Media by the staff. I wrote:

2. The incident (The Dominos Pizza employee videos) once more underlines the need to draft company guidelines of employee usage of Social Media as means of personal expression. Considering the increasing number of people seeking fame online I think that lack of organizational guidelines spells problems for companies that see their products and brands suffering because of the irresponsible behavior of some of their employees. It spells also problems to many idiots who cannot think of the consequences of their actions putting themselves and their employers in trouble.

Citizen and customer empowerment is a good thing. Yet among these empowered citizens there are some (or maybe a many) who are either stupid or have no sense of responsibility and morality. These people can bring themselves and other in troubles as we saw in the Dominos case (and many other cases actually). In many cases these people operate in organizations and systems ignorant of the dangers or ignorant as to how to deal with such situations.
These thoughts came to my mind after reading the unbelievable (at least from the European perspective) story titled My Students. My Cellphone. My Ordeal in the Washington Post online on the 19th of April. The case proves that things can go terribly wrong even in schools or universities.

If you take the time to read the story I recommend you to read also some of the comments and mainly a comment posted by ehkzu on the 20th 0f April highlighting some of the backgrounds of the case and giving some insights to the American judicial system; very informative comment (mainly for non-Americans) to understand how something like this can happen.