Social Media:  Guidelines for Employees

Employees are increasingly participating in social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked in, each of which present different avenues for sharing personal and professional interests.  Maintaining the boundaries between work and home can be difficult when co-workers are added to our personal networks.  Casual postings can turn into misunderstandings that can easily spill over to the workplace.  Following a few basic tips can keep the harmony in your workplace and minimize the drama in your social media networks.

Consistency  

If you’re going to accept one co-worker into your network, you should be prepared to accept them all.  There’s no easy way to explain to a co-worker why they have been excluded from your network after other colleagues have been welcomed.  Remember that Facebook allows you to subdivide friends into lists, which allow you to set different privacy (viewing) levels for different groups.   Another strategy is to simply have a policy of not adding co-workers to your networks.  Your co-workers are much more likely to respect your privacy if your actions are consistent.

Restraint

Your postings can be forwarded by any of your friends or followers, and depending on your privacy settings, your online content can be viewed by almost anyone on the internet.   Never say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of a friend or a co-worker.  Try to be considerate of other people’s sensitivities to certain topics like politics or religion.  Also be mindful that all university policies, including those related to anti-harassment and ethics, extend to all forms of communication, which includes social media, both inside and outside of the workplace.  Never air any disagreements or escalate conflicts with co-workers or friends online.  Many matters are easily solved with some old fashioned off-line, face to face or phone communication. 

Clarity

Remember that unless you are acting as a department steward of a Marquette site, accessing social media sites should only be done on your personal time.  If you do identify yourself as a Marquette employee on a personal blog or social media page, be mindful that whatever you say can be associated with you as an employee.  Your postings can potentially be perceived as a reflection on Marquette, our employees, leadership, students, and alumni.   You may want to consider setting up both private and public profiles with appropriate sharing settings.

The increase in social media usage will only continue the blurring of the traditional separations between work life and personal life.  Learning as much as you can about your social networks and practicing common sense restraint will help to secure your professional and personal reputation while maintaining a cohesive work environment.

 

Please refer back to the main Grow page for information on upcoming sessions highlighting the latest trends and practices in social media.



 



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