2011 was undoubtedly the year of social media. The huge impetus that this sector received in the past one year prompted many businesses to join social media. It also necessitated companies to formulate a social media policy for the company.
An ideal social media policy would not talk of what an employee is forbidden to do, but in stead, tell him what he is free to do social networks. A recent survey has shown that young job seekers are opting more for companies with free social media access, salary is their second consideration. This summarises how important it is to have a vibrant social media policy.
However one should not take the freedom of expression to be absolute. If you make a negative comment against your company on social media channels, you might have to face red eyes of the management coupled with a warning or even lose your job. Apple serves as a good example in this regard.
Apple strictly maintains a tight control over its public image, be it on Twitter, Facebook, or any other web 2.0 platforms. For that reason, the company keeps an alarmed eye on all the social profiles, which are mainly used to spread the words about iTunes content, support documents, product updates, new achievements etc. Moreover, Apple likes to keep a control over its employee’s social accounts as well. According to Apple, if any employee expresses his/her opinion about the brand without considering the brand image, he/she is at fault and entitled to get fired.
Take the recent example of an UK Apple employee, who made some negative comments about the company on Facebook, but privately. He was fired with immediate effect. When he appealed to the UK labor, it came out that “Apple made it absolutely plain throughout the induction process that commentary on Apple products, or critical remarks about the brand, were strictly prohibited.”
Apple also made it clear that they warn employees in advance so that they refrain from making any negative comment against the organization. It looks like Apple is way more serious about its public image than any other company. And why not? One should not be casual with the reputation and market goodwill, which took so many years to form.
So while we must be using social media to the fullest, we must also exercise caution so as not to damage the reputation of the organisation we are working for.
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