Social Mediators Episode 2: Are You Always One Of Us?

In this week’s episode of Social Mediators, Joe Thornley, Terry Fallis and I discuss work/life boundaries. Specifically, are you always “one of us?” Should a company have any domain over its employees once they leave the office? This was prompted by a heated debate over our company’s new online communications policy over on MetaFilter recently.

From my perspective, employee guidelines should be considered to extend beyond 9-5 in some part. While a company doesn’t “own you” outside work, your actions outside work do reflect on the company. You might draw a line between work and your time outside work, but consumers and the media don’t. If you do or say something that offends, it’s not uncommon for the story to become about your job.

While the “don’t use social media” rules, which some organizations unfortunately have, shouldn’t apply, it’s reasonable to ask that employees not badmouth competitors (for example) or do anything that would actively work against the company’s interests when they’re outside the office. So, you’re not “always working for us” but you are “always one of us.”

Social media policies (if done well) can be a two-way tool. On the one hand, they protect the company by drawing boundaries around what is acceptable and what is not. On the other, they protect employees by clearly communicating what is acceptable, so people can interact online without any fear of reprimand.

What do you think?

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Sites referred to in this episode:
Marketers Miss the Mark with Twitter, Mitch Joel
TTC Staffer caught apparently sleeping on job, National Post<
Alleged TTC napper under investigation, National Post
TTC union shocked at uncaring response of riders to “sleeping” staffer, National Post
Second photo emerges of another alleged TTC napper, National Post

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.