Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are Highland Council suggesting that some employees might have to give up their social media profiles?

It's a tricky one for many people, their social media existence and their work place. Quite a lot of folk on twitter tend to say what they do and then add "views are purely my own" or similar. A regular reader has sent us a link to a document that went before the Finance Housing and Resources committee at Glenurquhart Road today so it is all  done and dusted now. Anyway, the document is all about the Council and its staff's use of Social Media.
There were some appendixes listed for approval. This observer was particularly interested in the first part of section 5

"5. Using Social Media for Personal Use
As the use and popularity of social media grows, the lines between what is public and private, personal and professional have blurred. The Council respects their employees‟ right to personal use of social media out-with the workplace.
However, staff should be aware that actions in and outside work that affect their work performance, the work of others, or adversely affect the Council‟s reputation, may become a matter for the Council.
Considering the following points may help avoid any conflict between personal use of social media and an employee‟s employment with the Council:

If staff already use social networks or blogs for personal use and have indicated in any way that they work for the Council they should remove these. The personal image projected in social media affects an individual‟s reputation and may affect the reputation of the Council. Criticising the Council, even on a personal blog can be damaging. By identifying themselves as a Council employee within a social network, they are connecting to their colleagues, managers and even Council citizens." Read the entire document here. 

There were other points under item 5 but is this observer alone in finding the above paragraph a bit disconcerting? We have the word "may" in the second paragraph and then the word "should" in the third para.
"Should remove," are we to take that to mean remove the social network or simply any references to your work? If you are a Council employee how do you keep the fact that you work for the Council from people you've known all your life, or all the residents in your town or village that will cross your social network path? If you say you are a teacher and live in the Highlands for example, then are you not giving away the fact you work for the Council? Is the above paragraph too intrusive? The day is done however, and the above material will either have been agreed or thrown out.


Anonymous said...

Standard thing, I work for a large organisation and we are warmed what we can and not do on social media's.

Boat race said...

It may seem a stern warning from the council but I'm afraid that some folk who use social media seem to be unaware that what they write on their Facebook or Twitter page can often be seen by the world, not just their circle of friends.

All too easy to post 'I've had a bad day at work because of x' and for it to be seen by Joe public with the knowledge that this person works for the council

Censorship? maybe, but where do you draw the line?

There is also the problem that with the advent of smart phones that you don't even need to use your work computer to post or receive messages on social media. Should we ( the council tax payers) be paying for folk to be using this media at work when they should be working!? A difficult question

Anonymous said...

This would seem to go much deeper than using social media in the workplace,"If staff already use Social netwoks or blogs for personal use.... What about employees who do not use social media at work, but in their own time? Is this a draconian blanket ban for all council employees?

APTSec said...

I have not read the whole document so I am just putting out some general points. There seems to be an assumption that the actions (and who knows that these might be)through social media of some staff may well lead readers of that social media to think less of the organisation and its other employees.

So, tell me, would it be ok to be elected or employed if you were say, a misogynist or a racist or had very extreme views on issues, or were in the habit of doing daft things or spreading gossip or being irresponsibly under the influence of substances as long as you kept this well hidden, so that it did not reflect badly on the council?

Are large organisations afraid that the relaxed atmosphere of social media will be just too tempting to those bottling things up?

Surely what we should be looking at is what behaviour large organisations would think would reflect badly?

Of course there is always that thing called 'free speech' but would that extend to 'cyber bullying' or incitement of hatred against ones fellow man.

Anonymous said...

Makes one wonder about the members use of social media?

Greg said...

Don't post anything on social media you wouldn't want your mother or your boss to see. Simple.

Anonymous said...

Go on STRIKE!!

Tory Boy said...

SACK them all, they should be working not tweeting and chatting