Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Would you do a beer bong in a bikini at the office?

Picture it: 
Beth is a top sales performer at your company, Paper To Go. She is "friends" on Facebook with all 9 of your employees and  does a stellar job of building external and internal relationships by planning and inviting people to company events using Paper To Go's Facebook page.  She has a "company events" photo section on Flikr that makes all employees appear professional and yet, fun and relatable. She has sealed many deals by building great relationships with clients and vendors on Twitter. She recently recruited your number one sales person through a LinkedIn group.

She also posts daily photos of herself in sexy clothing and sometimes lingerie. Her current Facebook status says she is "Playin' hooky and getting her drink on!" She has recently posted a message on her assistants Facebook page saying he is looking "so so sexy" in his recent photo.

Is she sexually harassing your other employees or your clients with her near nude photos and sexual posts? Do you have to fire her for saying she playing hooky? Do you want to have to fire your top performer for something she is doing in her personal time? At the same time, do you want your clients know THIS is who is handling their account?

In the year 2020 there will be 18 year olds going to college who have never lived in a world where social media networks didn't exist. In 2025, they will be 23, fresh out of college and looking for a job. They will have never lived in a world where their Friday night parties didn't show up on Facebook. They will know that no matter who they are texting or where they are posting, their moms, grandmas, bosses and friends could have access to it with in mere minutes. It will be ingrained in their brains that calling their coworkers a name, saying they hate their jobs or talking bad about a client WILL be seen, shared, reposted and they WILL be punished for it.

In 2010 people of all ages have email, texting, Facebook pages, Flicker sites and more. Their first instinct is not to think about where the information they are divulging is going, just that for the first time, they can be heard: loud and clear.

Do you have the policies and training in place to ensure that your employees are using even personal social media sites in a way that represents yours company well and protects you and your employees? Please consider a social media policy that clearly and legally spells out the rules, guidelines and ramifications for content on professional AND personal social media sites.

Also,  please take off the Facebook picture of you in a bikini doing a beer bong. Your grandmother DOES NOT want to see it.

Happy Tuesday,


  1. Well said, Kristin! It shocks me that people do this kind of thing on their personal social media pages. In fact, I know someone who has been fired for posting rants on Facebook about how much they hated their boss and job.
    And this is when my boss decided to implement a social media policy.

    I think one needs to ask the question, “would I want this on the front page of the newspaper?” before posting.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Shan. That is a good question to ask yourself before putting stuff up anywhere on the web.

  3. Love this article Kristen! Thank you.

  4. Great article. Every activity has a cost and responsibility attached. We have to assume anything we post anywhere may end up EVERYWHERE.
    For individuals: as Kristin wrote we should not post anything we would not want our bosses, grandmothers, or kids to see.
    For companies: a well constructed, fair social media policy is a must for any company.

  5. ...and this is why every company (large or small) should have a set of social media guidelines.