Many of us use social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Most of us use it for social purposes, sharing news, pictures, keeping in touch with family and friends, and some of us use it for business purposes.
There is no doubt about it social media is a marvellous thing but it also has a darker side. People sharing information and pictures without the permission of others, to comments being made that could result in bullying or even worse.
I have a friend who was mortified last Christmas to find that pictures that had been taken on a Practice works night out when she was “a bit worse for wear” had found their way onto her Facebook page. She had a few too many drinks and unfortunately tripped up a curb, someone took a picture and thought it would be funny to post this with other pictures of the night on their Facebook page. Unknown that these pictures had been taken; she only discovered them when she was tagged into the pictures. This resulted in he sons, husband and other members of her family and many friends seeing her in pictures she would rather them not have seen. She was not happy and it in fact caused a row at work on the Monday. There was bad feeling between the two for some time, and this in turn affected the moral within the team. The team divided in their opinions some feeling that the person who had posted the pictures had done no wrong, and some feeling that my friend was right in feeling angry. The row developed and a complaint to the Practice Manager and it all got very unpleasant.
Another article I found interesting recently was a Doctors Practice displayed a notice in their surgery asking patients not to use Facebook or Twitter to complain about their service. The notice asked patients if they had any complaints or comments about the surgery would they please contact the Practice Manager as any comments on social media sites may be seen as a breach of their zero tolerance policy. The surgery said in the notice that they would be happy to deal with comments/complaints in the usual way.
The “zero tolerance policy” referred to appears to be NHS guidance on dealing with rude, abusive or aggressive behaviour towards staff.
Apparently the online comments about the surgery named staff and swearwords were used and this what prompted the decision for the practice to put the notice up.
I think the practice was right in asking patient not to use social media for this, as the practice would not have been able to respond to any of the comments because of confidentiality issues. If staff were named this could have been seen as a form of bullying, and the staff member would have every right to feel threatened about it.
see a recent blog with a similar story :
The Threatened Receptionist http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-x6
There are other stories that have recently been in the headlines, which have involved Facebook, a Neapolitan woman following a marital row her husband demanded that the photographs of their honeymoon be taken down from her Facebook page. His argument was he had not given his permission to publish them, and he even took her to court over it. The Naples court has not only agreed with him but the wife may have to pay him damages. The pictures were taken on the couples honeymoon 10 years ago and included photos of the couple.
Another article recently has also highlighted the importance of holidaymakers sharing their plans on social medial. It could be read and used by criminals planning a burglary.
This information can be seized by thieves – from research said that some 78% of ex-burglars said that they strongly believed social medial platforms are being used to target property.
I think we all need to be aware of the repercussions of staff sharing information on their personal social media sites – especially if it involved their workplace. It could be a very interesting topic to have on your next Receptionist Meeting to discuss using pictures on social media that might be anyway involved their place of work. But most important as an employee they must understand never get drawn into any arguments about their place of work on any social media sites.
Perhaps you could put something about social media usage in your staff contract.