By now it may seem like I am obsessed with these social media platforms and hell bent on re-hammering how intrinsic these platforms have become to our lives, but here’s the deal – everyone is discussing this with some bit of real sense of it. Of late, the discussions have been of the twin-pronged problem of tweeting or facebooking. While on the one hand, these are personal to an individual within complete control of only the individual, which is obviously the right way, on the other hand, thanks to some of these status messages, what is happening in one’s professional life is reaching clients, competition and even bosses. Which is the worst, I leave you to decide...
People are joining or getting super active on Twitter and Facebook without completely knowing what they are getting into. I was speaking to a researcher the other day, who works on amalgamation of psycho-graphically categorised databases, and one of his ‘rich source’ of content, including images, is from Facebook. I heard him through, thinking of all the crazy instances when so many creative directors and media planners tell my team to pick their image from Facebook when needed urgently for publishing purpose… But my friend was not so much at peace – she wondered whether images could be lifted like this, wasn’t prior permission needed, what if they were personal images, and so on…
In fact, the line of questioning did seem to worry our dear researcher and he said, ‘look these are people who are now comfortable discussing bad work stations, difficult colleagues or tough assignments with total strangers and, in some cases, even external relations of the companies they work for, they are pretty much alright with this’… Now, that last part got all of us thinking. Imagine writing ‘bad day at client meet’ and if that client is on your Facebook or Twitter, or writing, ‘met with Ekta Kapoor, she really is something’ – innocent status and super interesting to your ‘Facebook friend’ working in another channel, or imagine writing on a Monday morning, ‘Why can’t Sunday go on forever, didn’t want to get out of the bed today’, and your boss reading that!
Technology breaks all kinds of barriers and takes networking to a new level altogether, but if the implication is not understood, it is very easy to make some career limiting moves.
If the situation is turned on it’s head, and one looks at it from the management viewpoint, then the concerns are different. The management cannot be seen interfering in the personal lives of their employees, and yet there is the fear that some newcomer, some enthusiastic fresher, someone in a ‘not thinking’ moment can do damage. The worst is that this is also not one of the mistakes where an apology is alright – once that ‘Update’ button is hit, the message is out in the open. And now with Facebook and Twitter on the go, things don’t get any simpler.
So, I guess, like it or not, eventually one would have to sort out their Twitter and Facebook strategy before companies include it in Code of Conducts or office decorum manuals (for companies that still have those).
You cannot not allow your clients and boss to follow you, and then, instead of just doing what you want to do on Twitter or Facebook, your careful side has to come forward. True, if one cannot write about what they are doing, which does mean working 10-12 hours for some, then what can one write about? I mean, you cannot go on discussing weather and traffic – that will get boring. And, while there is nothing wrong with recommending books and movies and shows, everyone can’t be doing that. So, to repeat myself, one must sort out their social media strategy.