December 16, 2009

The dark side of social networking

In this blog I have argued a couple of times that organizations and businesses should introduce a code of conduct when it comes to the use of digital media by employees either in their working or private time. Lack of such a code can harm both businesses and employers as the Domino's Pizza incident indicates. In my post about the Domino's case (what is of course one of many) I mentioned the following: "The incident 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."

It is true that an online wild west is not at the interest of anyone. People are loosing their jobs or miss job opportunities because recruiters and HRMs are increasingly obtaining information about their employees or applicants on social media sites where these have profiles. A misplaced comment or picture can have sometimes disastrous results on peoples' employment perspectives. Even CNN has put attention to the issue with two recent online videos in their Technology section. I must say that for some reason most cases we hear about such incidents come from the other side of the Atlantic but I suspect that the phenomenon of people's background checks is not exclusively an American phenomenon. A clear corporate policy is a good way to avoid such incidents.