Slap on the wrist over staff social media policy Feb21


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Slap on the wrist over staff social media policy

Social media is my job but not so long ago it almost got me fired.

Before joining the team at POMO and becoming a qualified social media manager, I used to be a print journalist and subeditor for a large news media organisation.

This organisation allowed all of its journalists access to social media during work hours as it is an extremely useful tool for procuring networks and contacts in the digital age.

Most journalists advertise the organisation they work for and their job titles clearly in their profiles, as did I. It’s common practice for professionals who deal with online communication in any industry to link themselves with their workplaces.

However it’s very important that employers educate staff about how they are expected to use social media – as I later found out.

You see during my stint at this particular news organisation I had a rough day. We all have rough days, right? I am Generation Y so once home and fed I posted a short rant about ‘spending 8 hours in a world of negativity’ via my Facebook account. I didn’t mention ‘work’ or my workplace or name anyone in the post. And, as is the nature of Facebook, I received several thumb-ups and quite a few “here-heres”. A rough day at work is something my network of friends could relate to.

I thought nothing of it and went on to enjoy my weekend blissfully ignorant of the consequences that lurked not far off in the near-future.

Monday, I was called into the editor’s office. “Care to explain your comments on Facebook?”

I. Freaked. Out.

How did the editor know what I’d said on Facebook (he’s not my ‘friend’)? Why did he have an issue with it and what made my post anything worthy of a reprimand?

Turns out the fact I had the name of the organisation in my ‘about’ section meant anything I said or did on Facebook was under scrutiny by my employers.

That was news to me. But it shouldn’t have been. At POMO we educate workplaces about more than just promoting your business online. Things like how your staff use social media outside of work hours, who access’s the organisation’s profiles and whether staff can use social media at work should all be covered by policy.

Employers and employees should have a clear understanding of where they stand in the world of social media and how not to drag the organisation’s brand into disrepute.

For the record, it turned out one of my Facebook ‘friends’ had dobbed me in to the boss – can you believe that?! That day I left the editor’s office and set about unfriending all of my co-workers but a special few.

And as for the post at the center of the scandal: I was asked to remove it … but I didn’t. I felt the reprimand was ridiculous and the editor never actually showed me the organisation’s social media policy that said what I did was wrong and that this sort of thing needed to be removed.

Have you been reprimanded for a comment on your personal social media accounts? I would really like to hear your stories.


This blog is published by POMO – a creative agency specialising in customer engagement based in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia.