Social Media Costs -- and Some Workers Are Paying With Their Jobs


Generally speaking, most companies want to hire social networking savvy workers, especially in digital marketing roles where social networking offers the most bang for the buck. But social networking started out and continues to be a way for individuals to express theselves - not a corporate marketing engine. Hence, there's a learning curve that both employees and management need to climb quickly.

[Related: BYOD Policy: Employee Right to Social Media Privacy Is Paramount]

"The most efficient way of conciliating these two selves - personal and professional - is to develop a social media policy adapted to the company, whereby what can and cannot be done by employees on social media is clearly clarified, as well as the consequences for ignoring or voluntarily breaking these guidelines," says Steve Nicholls, author of Social Media in Business.

"The fact that there have been several stories of employees getting fired because of their behaviors on social networks only supports the idea that there is a strong need for clarification to be made between companies and employees," he says.

Xerox has social media guidelines for employees who have social media as part of their job descriptions, which cover blogging, micro-blogging, user forums, social networking and audio-video sharing. What about other employees A Xerox spokesperson says the company has additional internal guidelines but would not confirm the existence of a social media policy for general employees; Christopher says she never saw a social media policy.

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