Network - Fall 2010 - (Page 15)

O Legal Source Social Networking: By Stuart E. Rudner The Good, the Bad and the Legal reputation of an organization or its ability to carry out its work and manage its workforce. For example, an individual posting a status update that says, “Our competitor is about to release its new product, which will blow ours out of the water” is clearly a concern. At the same time, people can do things online that can have a more indirect impact. For example, on many social networking sites, you can create or join groups, and create or indicate your attendance at various events. Someone attending the rally against the war in Afghanistan may not cause much concern, unless, of course, they are one of Stephen Harper’s advisers. Similarly, someone joining the “I love Tim Hortons” group would seem to be relatively innocuous, unless they are the manager of a Country Style franchise. his article will explore issues of concern with respect to employee use of social networking websites, and will also address how employers can use those sites to their advantage. The reality is that sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are increasingly prevalent and unlikely to go away any time soon. As a result, organizations would be naive to ignore the dangers and potential benefits. Years ago, I spoke and wrote with respect to concerns regarding employee use and abuse of Internet and email. At that time, the biggest concerns were excessive personal use and the inappropriate distribution of pornographic material via email. Since that time, we have seen a number of new developments with respect to Internet usage. These include blogging, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many others. At the same time, we have seen dramatic changes in technology. No longer are we solely concerned with what an individual is doing when they are sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Rather, individuals can use laptops, cell phones, iPhones, Blackberrys and iPads in order to access the Internet and social networking sites. In a matter of seconds, someone can snap a photo and post it online. I suspect that most readers will be at least somewhat familiar with the nature of social networking sites. Facebook, the most popular of the bunch, was initially developed for students. It allows individuals to post information about themselves, photos, and status updates. They can post on other people’s walls, join groups, and create events. “Grown-up” versions of Facebook, such as LinkedIn and Plaxo, developed later on and were designed more for professional usage. However, there is significant overlap between the two types of social networking sites, and as a user of both, I can say that I have used “social” sites such as Facebook to generate business and maintained friendships using LinkedIn. With respect to what people post online, there are two broad categories of concerns. The first involves intentional or reckless comments that can impact upon the T NETWORK O Fall 2010 O 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Fall 2010

Network - Fall 2010
HRIA President’s Message
HRIA Membership = Career Advancement
HR Abstract
Social Networking: The Good, the Bad and the Legal
Shifting Focus Harnessing Technology for Learning and Development
Technology in Recruiting: All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
Drowning in Data: Get the Most Out of Metrics
HR Data Management: Gains Through Employee Empowerment
Technology Aids the Human Touch
The HR Office True-life Tales from the HR Profession
Index of Advertisers

Network - Fall 2010