Social media entails using internet applications, which allow users to access multi-generated contents including social networking websites such as Facebook and blog sites such as Twitter (Rokka, Karlsson, & Tienari, 2014, p. 804). However, the management of an organization should explicitly demarcate professional and private life to their employees to control the use of social media. This is because misuses of social media by employees may in the long run damage the reputation of an organization. Therefore, organizations must ensure that they have formal social media policy guidelines in place to cushion them against any possible misuse of the internet by some of their employees.
All posts by employees should be enlightening, direct and briefly articulated. They should add value to the discussion at hand and have high level of professionalism and respect in line with the company’s core values and virtues. The posted content, whether on behalf of the company or not should be error free, well spelled and grammatically correct (Murphy, Loeb, Basto, Challacombe, Trinh, Leveridge, & Bultitude, 2014, p. 114).
In addition, the employees should avoid posting confidential and private information such as photos taken in compromising situations while also respecting the privacy of the organization they work for (Murphy, Loeb, Basto, Challacombe, Trinh, Leveridge, & Bultitude, 2014, p. 116). The employees, while using the social network web sites, should at all times avoid controversial subjects that may elicit hostile reactions from the public and jeopardize the reputation of the organization. While using social media for personal fulfilment, the employees should always consider using disclaimers such as ‘the posts on this web site…or page are my own and don’t represent the position…goals of the company’ to avoid potential misconception on the origin of the posts.
The employees should always observe strict adherence to laws pertaining to copyrights and advertisements to avoid legal redresses or public scrutiny (Murphy, Loeb, Basto, Challacombe, Trinh, Leveridge, & Bultitude, 2014, p. 118). The use of the social media must never be a major hindrance to the work performances and commitments to the company employees.
Summary of principles
In designing appropriate policy guidelines for the appropriate and effective use of the social media, the organization must be directed by a number of principles to ensure relevance of the guidelines. These guiding principle aims at increasing and monitoring the participation of the employees in the social media (Lee, & Kwak, 2012, p. 494). The organization should encourage its employees to embrace the use of the social media. Social media use by employees is restriction free (Lee, & Kwak, 2012, p. 496). Similarly, the organization should ensure that their databases are manned by IT experts who check on excessive and irrelevant use of the social media by employees.
The organization should be guided by the principle of thoughtfulness or consideration of the employees (Lee, & Kwak, 2012, p. 497). Employees should only posts information that can be deemed reasonably civilized, ethical and moral. The other guiding principle is that of self-respect, self-regulation and transparency by employees (Berge, 2008, p. 74). Therefore, the workforce should at all-time be aware of the fact their actions on social media may positively or negatively affect their reputations and that of the company. The privacy of the company’s clients and suppliers are also protected by these principles to ensure that the company remain competitive in the ever changing market settings while avoiding costly legal actions (Berge, 2008, p. 76).
In conclusion, the purpose of these social media policies are to articulately guide and monitor the use of social media by the company’s employees both at home and at work. The policies explicitly directs the employees to ascertain whether their purported us of the social media benefits the company or themselves. Notably, these policies are general and are to be used as a guideline by a web site administrator in the organization to closely monitor employees’ use of the social media.
Murphy, D. G., Loeb, S., Basto, M. Y., Challacombe, B., Trinh, Q. D., Leveridge, M & Bultitude, M. (2014). Engaging responsibly with social media: The British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) guidelines. BJU Int, 114, 9-11.
Rokka, J., Karlsson, K., & Tienari, J. (2014). Balancing acts: Managing employees and reputation in social media. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(7-8), 802-827.
Berge, Z. L. (2008). Guiding principles in Web‐based instructional design. Educational Media International, 35(2), 72-76.
Lee, G., & Kwak, Y. H. (2012). An open government maturity model for social media-based public engagement. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 492-503.