Lucky us, we live in a world with media and self publishing everywhere. There isn’t a second going by in silence online, opinions from everyone about everything fly through the ether. Except work. You’re not allowed to complain about work. It’s 2015, everyone and their mums and unfortunately their workplace is on the internet. Since businesses are slower to adapt to new media in part because of their bureaucracy and in part because they’re businesses trying to make the most of every new platform. In an effort to avoid damage to their reputations in more permanent discourse platforms (anywhere online) businesses create digital media policies: extensions to workplace contracts that cover employees conduct online even while off the clock.
One of the more extreme examples of this, which didn’t go into effect so don’t grab your torches and pitchforks just yet, was the Commonwealth Banks first attempt at a social media policy which basically requested employees report anyone who they saw saying slanderous things online. Failure to do so would result in disciplinary action (Hannan, 2011). This is kind of insane but I understand why the business thought it could get away with this. If you’re on their payroll it’s in your best interest to make sure that the business keeps running optimally and i mean, they’ll call you at home anyway to do work; might as well report people complaining about the bank while you’re at it.
But it didn’t go through because turning your workforce into your own online police force is just a little terrible.
By contrast, Cisco only requests that you distinctly separate yourself from Cisco. They even provide the exact sentence on how to do this on different platforms. For me that seems like a bit much too, telling employees exactly what they can say. But what else are you going to do? The business doesn’t want people to represent them without the proper training or without the proper planning. Again this ties in to them just wanting to have control of their image and every facet they can control is definitely good for them. It’s just a matter of how exactly to do this moving forward with each and every new platform that will inevitably spring forth. Cisco can’t have a sentence for every platform that will arise, they just need to be prepared more than Commonwealth Bank was.