When Kevin Latchford of Aztek welcomed the crowd to a recent Social Media for Business seminar, he warned that "Social media has all been 'rah rah' but there is another side to be aware of."
Of course Social Media has been the buzz for a few years now and is becoming even more ubiquitous. It seems that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the kingpins of social media and essentials for doing business but don't forget how fast this space changes. Aztek's Dave Skorepa told how MySpace had been the big thing a year or so ago but they just announced 30% layoffs.
Rapid changes are why it's important to stay current with Social Media. That means more than learning the newest add-ons to use with your Twitter account. That means considering the business and legal implications of using these tools. For that, Aztek turned to two expert attorneys from Brouse McDowell.
Chris Carney and Steve Bond told the audience that Social Media presents new challenges to employers. For example, it may seem completely innocuous to scan through Facebook pages and weed out prospects that don't seem to fit.
In reality, Steve Bond said, such actions could be deemed to be discriminatory. He advised that in general it is better to use such information as part of the background information gathering of the interview process but not to use it to prevent interviews from taking place.
Chris Carney told of a case in Bozeman, Montana where the city requires access (including passwords) to social media accounts from job prospects. He cautioned that since this is "an emerging area of law, it is better to be cautious."
Though we sometimes tend to think that social media is so dramatically different that it requires new rules, that is not always the case. Both attorneys advised companies to have clear, written ground rules that are presented to employees up front no matter if it is for social media or snail mail.
Other practices such as not just telling people you are monitoring their e-mails but actually doing it, for example, also carry through to social media.
In this podcast you will hear Chris and Steve explain some of these situations and discuss the Federal Stored Communications Act which may be new to you.