A tool used incorrectly can be dangerous: Use caution when accessing Social Media

For those of you who know me well this post might sound a little alarming.  There are few people out there that are bigger advocates of using Social Networks more than I do, but just like any other tool, Social Networks can be dangerous and costly if used in an incorrect manner.     I’ll go into a few  details to show you what I mean.

The movement of companies of all sizes to use Social Networks like LinkedIn , Facebook and Twitter cannot be denied.  The statistics do not lie and the migration will only continue, probably at an accelerated pace as the economy continues to pick up some steam.  This growing usage of these networks will also provide a field day for the legal community as more and more firms use these tools in an incorrect manner.  Let me point out a few of these incorrect uses:

  • making employment decisions solely on what a firm finds about a candidate on a network
  • gaining access to an employee’s page or content in an unauthorized manner
  • not having a policy in place that clearly lays out who from a firm is authorized to speak on behalf of the firm

There are certainly many other issues that need to be considered, but let me give you a few handy hints that will  make “sailing the social seas” a much smoother voyage:

  • Establish a Social Media policy first before you establish any kind of presence on any network
  • Within this policy make it painfully clear who will, and who will not, speak for your firm
  • Only use the networks in a straightforward manner to source candidates for roles
  • Be sure that the networks you use are not the Only Source you mine candidates from

I am not an attorney, so don’t take my suggestion as the Gospel of Social Media usage, but do seek outside guidance from a reputable legal firm that has substantial experience in this world.  A few suggestions I would make for reputable sources of Social Media guidance include the following:

I am not in the business of grading or professionally recommending attorneys, but I know both Molly and Eric personally and I have heard them both speak to audiences about the “dos and don’ts” of Social Media usage.

You would not drive a nail with a screwdriver nor would you cut down a tree with a pocketknife.   

For the same reasons, don’t start the wholesale usage of Social Media and networks without a policy and a good navigator.  You’ll be glad you sought this kind of help.