The following excellent slideshare presentation was delivered by Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist for Intel, at the recent World Chamber Congress in Mexico (June 2011). It features the Otago Chamber of Commerce.
Please enjoy this presentation and put into action any points that are relevent to you and your organisation/business.
p.s. Thanks Ekaterina, you lead by example.
Social Media Expanding Chamber Reach
Social Media – Food for Thought
It is one thing to deal with people outside an organisation making comments or criticisms, but what happens when staff within an organisation starts to share their personal opinions and views online?
Where is the boundary of personal freedom (including freedom of speech) and control of a staff member’s ability to express an opinion publicly?
Some issues can be addressed with clauses within employment agreements regarding confidentiality of information and clauses that mention bringing the organisation into disrepute. There is no difference between offline and online activities in regards to this.
For the person who is using these forums it is good to remember a few basic rules about social media:
• Online, treat everything as public regardless of personal privacy settings
• People, including the media, employers and staff, are watching your personal accounts
• It is recommended to think twice before you post anything online, for example those comments and photos of that party last night may not be the best thing for your employer (or employee) to see.
Remember that it works both ways, you may check up on staff but they may be checking up on you.
Now what happens when staff members who have personal social media accounts become known publicly as being part of the business? The line between personal and business becomes blurred. If a staff member expresses an opinion or discusses personal values, beliefs or ideologies or even details about their routine or daily lives, does it reflect on the business? Can an employer insist that staff stop using social media or control/restrict what is said?
There are other questions in this area as well.
• Should an employer be searching a staff member’s account?
• Is it appropriate for an employer to “follow” or “friend” a staff member?
• Should you ignore/decline/block staff members (or your boss’s) friend request?
The question is where are the boundaries? Should it be left to chance or common sense or does it need to be controlled by policy or legislation?
Social media is here, to try to stop it is futile, to control it is problematic, so the other option is to become aware of how it works and educate yourself and others as to the appropriate use of this media.
Food for thought.
As micro-blogging and social networking sites increase in popularity and normality, the business community needs to make best use of these new media to promote and sell their services and products.
Language needs to be precise and concise so that the message given is clearly understood leading to the desired response from the intended market. This needs to be achieved in as few characters as possible.
Social media is no longer the domain of teenagers, students and geeks; it is rapidly becoming a normal part of life for a wide demographic of users including businesses.
Regardless of the channel used, be it facebook, twitter, etc, the call is interaction. Online networking should be a natural extension of off-line connection. There are no more limitations around time zones or boarders or even language barriers, businesses of any size now have the potential to have a truly global reach.
So what is stopping this expansion into new media?
Office policy where tight restrictions are placed on access to these sites can be detrimental to new ways of communication. I am not suggesting to allow free and unbridled use of facebook to chat with friends or to play one of the many annoying games; but rather allowing it to be used to communicate, research and collaborate with people and businesses to achieve the goals of the organisation.
We take telephones in the workplace today as normal now where once they were very restricted, why not social media?
If you own or run a business let me encourage you to take time to investigate how these new media could benefit your organisation.
For about a year or so, every time you watch the news you hear something about the effect that twitter is having on the world or how facebook is being used to break stories. This is great but what will happen next?
Already I have heard of people getting tired and bored with social networking.
This is how it should be, through history new inventions, ways of communication, and technologies have come and seemingly disappeared. Much of it, however, still exists, but because it is entrenched in every day familiarity we fail to notice it.
How many of us still marvel at the copper wire technology that carries our voice to a another person using a simple telephone? Yet how would we survive without this truly remarkable innovation. We take it for granted.
The next stage for social networking is normalization and integration into everyday lives and situations, whether at work, home, or wherever.
No longer will it be an organisation having a single twitter or facebook account (or whatever the next incarnation is). When years ago, organisations used to have a single telephone in the building and now have at least one on every desk (I have three on my desk at work plus my personal mobile phone); so, I believe, the next step will be each member of staff should be using these networks as communication tools just the same as the copper wire telephone we now have.
Invisable and unremarkable?… Yes
It is only when innovation, including social networking, becomes so routine and integrated in our business systems so we don’t notice we are using it that it will be of full benefit.
Never stop innovating, but don’t just gloat in the glory of the newest “shiny thing” work to make it part of ordinary everyday lives where we will say “how did we ever live without it?”.
The moment an innovative product becomes so routine it is not noticed or acknowledged is the moment it is truly successful.
Paul S Allen
The advance of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, MySpace and the like have become very popular ways to keep in contact with the world, but there are a few things that are worth remembering.
Be careful what you talk about, no mater how private you think your conversation is the internet is a public forum. Once you have posted a comment other people can copy, forward and publish it anywhere all with reference to you.
- It is public
- Once posted it will always be there, (you may delete it but others may still have copies)
- Do not post anything that you would not want your boss, spouse, partner, friends, mother, father children, pastor or spiritual leader to see.
- There are dangerous people out there, unfortunately, so be careful with photos and personal information.
- It is not a numbers game, quality beats quantity.
- There have been people who have lost their jobs as a result of material posted on social networking sites.
- Potential employers are starting to check applicants sites to asses the character of potential new staff.
- Do not post anything you may regret tomorrow.
One more thing, ask yourself this when accepting a follower, fan or friend; Would you invite this person into you house alone or would it be acceptable or appropriate to bring this person into your home? If the answer is no, don’t invite them into your network.
It is OK to be selective, you don’t have to accept everyone, and do not be offended if people don’t accept your requests or invitations, there could be good reasons.
Enjoy the opportunities that come from social networking but take care out there.