The issue is: Is it okay for companies to ban their employees from blogging? Or blogging: To do and not to do, that is the question?I began to think about the topic and what I wanted the readers to know about the topic. This issue is controversial and somewhat inflammatory.
Most companies have some restrictions on social media. In an article published by DigitalMediaWire it was said that 54% of businesses block employee access to social media sites.
I have to say that I don’t agree. Personally, I find social media, particularly blogging, an opportunity to give me a chance to say good things about my company. It allows me to also be able to speak highly of specific people that I would never have an opportunity to say anything about. As far as the not so good stuff, that can be saved for a later time.
Just because you have the opportunity to speak your mind and say anything you would like to say, does not mean that you have to do it. Use some discretion. Discretion never hurts anyone.
On the other hand, you can say what you feel and make your company look bad. You can also place information in a blog that will reveal industry secrets. You can dish on a co-worker and makes him look like a villain. That is bad business and bad for companies trying to set a certain mission for their business.
I know that people have been fired for blogging about their employees, but that is extreme. Most employees would want you to speak about the good stuff and save the bad stuff for meetings. I am a firm believer of this saying, “If you can’t say something good, then don’t say anything at all.”
When you blog at work, be careful when you use company issued computers and phones. Come on now, it is not your personal phone or computer, you really should not use it to blog. If you do, once again, use discretion. Today, many companies are making a case for banning the use of social media by discussing the unproductive use of company time. Use your breaks and lunch to blog. Don’t let the company use your blogging time as an excuse for a ban.
Personally, I have never had a problem with a breach of the system or a virus. Lately, many companies are blocking access because of some high-profile leaks of confidential or sensitive information. That is not a good reason for a ban. If someone wants to use social media, then they will find a way around it. Firewalls and internet security will not stop them.
My problem is with the employer. You have individuals that work for you. They are trashing their fellow employees and the company. They are making negative reports about everyone. If you, as the employer, place a ban on social media; then everyone’s problem goes away. Well, I’m sorry to inform you, the problem does not go away. It only gets worse. Morale declines and employees are very disgruntled.
Frankly, as an employer, I would have to consider why I would want someone to work for me that did not like the company and had nothing good to say.
I say let’s keep the ability to blog in our companies. Maybe establish some guidelines for the usage of social media, adhere to those guidelines and enforce them. Most employees know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When they slip up, provide them with a reminder. If they continue to slip, show them the front door. They can just as easily blog from home.
Virginia Cunningham blogs about social media, security solutions and gadgets among other topics. She currently does interactive media consulting for companies in Los Angeles, California.
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