THE SUITS in human resources at Intel and IBM have written up rules for their employees' use of social notworking sites.
Intel has taken the problem so seriously that it has created a department dedicated to the "practices of smart social media". This is what we call an attempt to ensure that all employees are singing from the same hymn sheet.
Intel's guidelines seem to be mostly common sense and read like something you would have heard in one of those stupid prize-giving speeches at school given by some ancient duffer.
Intel's guideline headings are: "Be transparent", "Be judicious", "Write what you know", "Perception is reality", "It's a conversation", "Are you adding value?", "Your responsibility", "Create some excitement", "Be a leader", "Did you screw up?" and "If it gives you pause, pause".
Obviously the phrase "be transparent" must really mean "be invisible" rather than "leak all the details of Chipzilla's upcoming roadmap to The Inquirer." The philosophical statement that "perception is reality" brings to mind the thought that social notworking postings can become a PR minefield.
Obviously if you believe that your manager is poking his secretary and stealing the tea money, and it is your perception that the world really needs to know this, your perception probably is not reality in the corporation's book.
Equally, if you think the Board of Directors are actually alien lizards trying to enslave the world then your perceptions are not going to match anyone else's reality, particularly anyone on the Board.
IBM's social notworking guidelines are similarly paternalistic and a bit patronising.
"Remember that IBM is a global organization whose employees and clients reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view," it warns.
So obviously do not slag off anyone's religion, race or sexual orientation. You should avoid topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory such as politics and religion. Which we would have thought are half of social notworking traffic, the other half being mostly a mix of self-absorption, gossip and flirting.
Don't talk about your job if your blog is hosted on an IBM-owned property. If you do host your own blog make it clear that you are not representing the official views of IBM. Standard stuff, really.
We guess if it is IBM you should always wear a suit and tie when you are writing your blog, just in case anyone is watching. µ
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