Thursday, April 12, 2012

Socially Unacceptable

Social media is a powerful tool. It is changing how we communicate with each other; it is changing how business gets done; and it is changing how repressed nations become free. In the final analysis social media is a force that can not, and should not be stopped.  However, with so much freedom and access comes a great degree of responsibility.

"Personal" Business
Blending social tools in our ever connecting world is common practice. I personally connect with friends and colleagues alike on multiple platforms. It has become a productive and useful way to do much more than keep in touch. It allows for a level of networking, dialogue and problem-solving that was once only reserved for conferences or an occasional phone call.

"The challenge is when the casual nature of online connections appear too friendly or are perceived to cross a professional line."

The real issue is whether or not those interactions should occur at all. Sometimes going social is just "too social."

"Business" Business
In business, and in my slice of the operation in Human Resources, social media is completely integrated into our daily practice. From our facebook page to our soon-to-be-launched talent community initiative, to our coordinated work with our Marketing team, social is a core component in my world of work.

Beyond HR though, the need for social media guidelines or (groan) a policy, allows both the organization to protect itself while still providing the necessary guidance for the employees to use the tools appropriately. Guidance is one wants to stumble unnecessarily.

How About You
Have you struggled to avoid crossing the proverbial line as you've leveraged the power of social media in your life? You don't have to answer out loud, I just want to make sure I'm not the only one sitting around with his tail between his legs.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courteys of billprettyman


  1. Crossing the line eh.... and where is the line? It's tough to tell sometimes, we all have different ideas I guess. What I hope for is that when I cross the line, you will tell me. That way I will know where it is next time. And having heard you speak Jay, I reckon that is just what you would do. Cheers - Doug

    1. Thanks for the comment Doug. I submit that we all need that level of support as we stay focused on that line...and yes, I would do that for you!

  2. Business relationships normally have clear and distinct purposes, which suggest broad boundaries. Sometimes the mutual trust and respect that grows from healthy value exchanges leads to social relationships. Social relationships need not have any purpose beyond the enjoyment of the relationship itself, but they may lead to choosing to do business together. I think it very much a matter of respect.

    It is easy to get mislead and to mislead. The French and German languages have good ways to show where you are with one another with their "vous/tu", "Sie/Du" distinctions and it it fascinating to see how these emerge as people get older and form more distinct working relationships. I think it is a shame we have lost those distinctions in English, but I am interested to know what thou thinkest, if I may be so intimately bold....

    1. Very insightful comments Jonathan. I wish I was more of a linguistics guy so I could more effectively answer your question. I think I would be a beneficiary of those differences in speech that are helping our colleagues who don't have English as their native tongue. Many thanks for the feedback.

  3. why does there have to be a line at all? why can't we just start with "use your brains, we hired you because we trusted you to make good decisions/exercise judgment, apply that same judgment to your use of social the workplace, outside of the workplace." why do we feel like it's our responsibility (employer/HR) to draw lines everywhere? lines lines lines. boundaries boundaries boundaries. cages cages cages. stupid stupid stubid

    1. I couldn't agree more Charlie...a little common sense goes a long, long way.

    2. I agree that HR should not feel the need to draw lines, and they do exist. We all have our own lines. Some may be beyond our horizon and some may be much closer to home. What's most important to me is that when I inadvertently cross your line Charlie, you tell me. That way we can have a conversation and I may learn from you, rub out my line, and keep on keeping on.