Friday, December 2, 2011

Who Owns Your Social Media Identity?


I seem to be pretty much on my own with this one and I'm not sure why. 

People all seem to be comfortable with the idea of having a work email account and a personal email account.  

So why are social media accounts any different?

If you are on company equipment, on company time, using company infrastructure; then clearly it is easier to define a ‘work account’. If you are mucking around talking to your mates about lolcats then do that on your personal account. Same as email.  The ‘work account’ then becomes and online asset that is the property of the employer. If @DaphneTalksBudgies leaves the pet shop then the account can be changed to @CherylTalksBudgies and the community that the pet shop has invested resource in can continue. 

Instead, we seem to see this horrid hybrid of “I’m Captain Awesome In Charge at Some Epic Company ---views are my own and not my employer’s.”

People then proceed to talk about hot topics in their industry (often on company time and equipment) and then try to pretend that a token “views expressed are my own” will wash their hands of any responsibility. 

As a communications panda trained in the ‘old way’ of having defined company spokespeople who are trained and briefed as experts on specific topics I find this ridiculous.

To me, that would be like Paul Reynolds having a spray about telco deregulation on Twitter and then trying to claim that it had no relation to his job at Telecom. You can’t shape shift like that. 

One of the few social media policies that I have seen take this matter seriously is the news organisation Reuters. Employees are encouraged to have a clearly defined work social media account that follows a company standard and remains the property of the company. The account is approved by the person’s manager for work use so it’s all out in the open. Personal accounts are left well alone, same as a personal Gmail account. 

I’m very conscious of what I send through my work email account and readily switch to my personal account if I’m ever in any doubt.  As our maturity around social tools as professional work spaces develops, hopefully more people will start to adopt this approach. 

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

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