Experts: Employers Should Make Social Media Policy Clear

Article excerpt

"Social media is changing how we conduct our lives, and it is happening quickly," said CEO of Saxum Strategic Communications Renzi Stone. From an employer's point of view, that statement could not be more accurate.

As social media becomes ubiquitous in today's business environment, many employers are left scratching their heads. The confusion is no longer in trying to figure out the usefulness of the new technology, but where to draw a line between employees' constructive engagement and frivolous amusement.

"This isn't so much a social media issue as it is a human resources and management issue," said Bill Handy, public relations professor at Oklahoma State University and social media strategy specialist with his company, DogDish.com.

"I strongly encourage all employers to hold some kind of employee training regarding social media usage for both personal and professional use," he said. "There are all kinds of great opportunities (with social media) which are beneficial for all involved, but there are also some risks which can be alleviated with just a bit of training."

Handy added that, in many instances, social media for personal reasons is no different than taking personal calls or checking personal e-mail while at work. Unless employees are using it for professional purposes, they shouldn't be using it at all while on company time except for during breaks, he said.

But the problem with black-and-white rules that govern employees' use of social media is that businesses - and thus employees - are not all the same. …