Exploring the Dilemmas of Social Media
William Tincup, SPHR
Jamie the receptionist takes a photo of her, ahem, top
half, and inadvertently sends (via text message) the
explicit photo to the entire office NOT to her
boyfriend of 2 years.
Your outsourced payroll provider has accidently
released your payroll data to the Interweb. Accident,
corporate espionage, security leak – dunno. Your
payroll data can now easily be found via Google
search. Someone and we don't know who has created
a hashtag (read: #yourcompanypay) in Twitter and
releases the names and associated pay for every
single employee. The data is now public domain.
You've recently had some layoffs. All departments
were hit. You lost three people in marketing - all
three of which were field marketing / remote
positions. After the layoffs, your entire marketing
team created LinkedIn recommendations of all three
candidates. They talk openly about the layoff and
how the terminations were NOT performance based,
A disgruntled employee videotapes the CEO, Jayne,
practicing a webinar presentation. The CEO is tired
and the practice session doesn't go well... she curses a
lot and makes a complete mess of the session. The
disgruntled employee edits the video to highlight all
the curse words and ahems, uh hums, yeahs, etc and
she generally looks terrible. So does your company.
The disgruntled employee uploads the video to
YouTube. It becomes a viral sensation. 5M people
watch the video in one day.
One of corporate values is transparency. Recently,
your IT department has blocked Facebook, MySpace
and Twitter. Smartphone usage at work rockets,
workforce performance and morale plummet.
An ex-employee outs his homosexual boss via Twitter.
This former employee has a huge following (read:
40,000 people) so everyone is now going to know that
Joel is indeed gay. Joel is a top performer and has
never participated in work gossip. He keeps his
private life private but now everyone at your company
will know his business.
One of your corporate recruiters, Robert, uses the
corporate Facebook account at add college "friends" -
predominantly - hot, young, single, female “friends” -
to your network so he can review photos (read: stalk)
candidates he'd like to interview.
You are recruiting a new VP of Operations. One of
your recruiters, Shelley, looked the candidate up via
Twitter and found heated customer service tweets
between the candidate and Verizon over billing issues.
In some instances the candidate uses profanity.
Your most recent wellness initiative - 10% in 10 Weeks
- has leaked to the web. One of your employees, Jerry
in IT, has created a Facebook fan page and a personal
blog so that he can document / highlight his struggles
with weight loss.
Your VP of Marketing, Bethany, is connected to
everyone in at your company. An avid social media
person - she's constantly connected. Recently she
joined and is now promoting a pro-choice group on
A regional sales manager, Dan, posts semi-sexual
language on coworker’s photos via Facebook. Think:
"damn you look hot". Dan has been happily married
for 30 years. He’s a prankster with a dry sense of
humor. Think of the most sarcastic person you
know… and that’s Dan.
One of your remote employees, James in tech
support, has linked his Facebook and Foursquare
accounts. He's status has him checking in via
Foursquare at Bally's Fitness an average of three times
per day usually during working hours (8 am, 12 pm
and 6 pm). James has always received top marks
during his performance reviews.
Years ago you created a LinkedIn Group for your
customers. People are vetted and only current clients
and current employees have access to the group.
Recently, some of your clients are openly discussing
pricing, contract information and/or SLA information.
You are conducting some research regarding
succession readiness for your department. In
particular, your position. You've identified two
potential top performers that could be considered
when you retire. They are equal is almost every way
with the one exception - one candidate has a
disproportionately larger social network than the
One of your vendors post on your Facebook wall that
they sure wish you paid your bills on time. Kind of a
joke but every one that is a fan of your company can
see the remarks.
One of your longest tenured employees, Robert in
maintenance, has created a Twitter list of all attractive
female company employees. The Twitter list is called
#yourcompanyhotthangs. This list is being followed
by most if not all of your male employees AND folks
outside of your organization.
One of the employees in the finance department,
Stanley, scans his most recent performance review
and posts to his personal Facebook account. The
review is high marks – exceptionally high marks
actually. He's excited about his review and wants to
share with his friends and family.
A disgruntled client creates a Twitter hashtag
(#yourcompanysucks). At first it was just one or two
"crazy" people. Now the hashtag is gaining some
momentum and is trending pretty high on daily basis.
The local Fox news team is running a story on
reputation management and wants your team to
comment on the hashtag usage.