Social Media Policies

Different social media logos.

Because social media is so prevalent in today’s society there are now many policies regarding its use in the work place or educational context. For example there is always the question, should employees be allowed to use company time using these social media sites such as: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? From my own personal experience working, I was not allowed to be on my cell-phone in general so that would also include using social media. Many employers feel that being on social media while working is a distraction. You are not focused on your work you are focused on what you’re reading or looking at. This idea is similar to the social media policies that many schools and universities follow. Students should not be on their phones during class and can often times lose participation points. I once had a professor who would have the TA’s take attendance and if a student was on their phone they would be marked absent. In her mind if you are not paying attention your mind is absent from the lesson even though you are physically there. I personally agree with these social media policies when it comes to working and being in class. When I am on my phone I am zoned in and I know that I am not giving my full attention to people, which is wrong. My own actions make me realize that our society as a whole is too dependent on our phones and social media. We can’t go the slightest time without checking what other people are doing.

Another aspect to consider when thinking about social media in the work place or education context is how the company’s personal social media is used and how employees must follow specific guidelines. After reading some of the different policies I was very intrigued to see how each company, university or even city has their own social media policies and regulations. The two that I found interesting were for Nordstrom and Coca-Cola.

For Nordstrom their guidelines were very straight forward. They said, “We recognize that many of our employees use social media tools as another way to connect with customers and share information about Nordstrom. Whether or not you are acting on behalf of Nordstrom, or using your personal social media accounts or blogs to talk about our products or our business (e.g., projects, promotions, sales, events and initiatives), always use good judgment and follow these guidelines.” Then there was a list of guidelines provided for employees to follow. Examples would be, 1. Don’t post sensitive, private or confidential company information (e.g. unannounced product launches and promotions, internal sales results, company strategy, pricing information or comparisons), 2. Don’t post photos of or make negative comments about our customers and do not share details about customer visits — both private and public figures — without their permission (unless it is a marketed personal appearance for the Company).

Coca-Cola took a similar approach. Their introduction said, “Every day, people discuss, debate and embrace The Coca‐Cola Company and our brands in thousands of online conversations. We recognize the vital importance of participating in these online conversations and are committed to ensuring that we participate in online social media the right way. These Online Social Media Principles have been developed to help empower our associates to participate in this new frontier of marketing and communications, represent our Company, and share the optimistic and positive spirits of our brands.” The company outlined criteria for both its own social media and its employees. An example for the company would be transparency in every social media engagement. The Company does not condone manipulating the social media flow by creating “fake” destinations and posts designed to mislead followers and control a conversation. An example for an employee would be that they are responsible for their actions. If they post something that does not follow company standards they can be punished.

Overall, I think these guidelines were created to not only benefit the company but everyone who is involved as well. While social media is a great way for people to be able to express their opinions there is a time, place and occasion to do so. It is so easy to ruin not only the reputation of the place that you work but also your own. While these policies may seem like restrictions they are only in place to help benefit you in the long run.