Social Media – Trust and Control

Emails scanned, work times logged to the second, cameras installed to watch over your employees.

All of the above occur in workplaces. The amount of effort required to maintain such security is significant and in my opinion outweighs employee stability, happiness in all but the most dire employment environments, and does nothing for productivity.

If employees are trusted and educated as to the goals of the company, taken through the reasons and efforts involved in providing a good service, there is no reason to try to clamp down upon their freedom of expression.

Why this left-leaning rant? It actually is related to the approach many companies are taking to Social Media and it’s use in the workspace. It has to do with the entrenched culture of control that is the basis of how many companies portray themselves to the world, and it just may be challenged comprehensively for the first time.

People will talk about companies, corporations and their brands - people, many people, will listen. There is nothing that can be done about it; huge percentages of the internet audience uses Social Media.

Negative reactions vary between companies but include outright banning of Facebook, Twitter and even Linkedin, threatening legal action for defamation in blogs and tweets and having their legal departments formulate Social Media policy.

These sorts of reactions have been commented on in other forums, but the important point is to note that they ultimately harm the company’s reputation - a reputation that is increasingly formed and acted upon online. Employees are a wonderful resource which effectively multiply your marketing and customer service team by many orders of magnitude - a healthy company needs to use them or it will be over taken by competitors who does so.

Obscurity no longer equals security.