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June 14, 2010


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I'm befuddled by the whole idea of a social media policy. The idea follows on the heels of social networking, blogging and e-mail policies. At the end of the day, the need is a blabbing policy.

I've written two pieces on this topic including Social Media Policy (almost) = Blabbing Policy ( and Blogging Policy = Blabbing Policy (

The crux of the point is that a unified communication policy will cover all venues, digital and in-person. If you single out one kind of interaction model (social media) then you exclude others and thus start needing a set of fragmented policies for trade shows, speeches, phone calls, emails, and other activities you conduct in both public and private life.

The one issue I identify in the Social Media post is that Social Media has the special ability to expose your connections and, thus, can expose the relationships you are creating publicly in the course of doing private business transactions. Corporate Intelligence professionals have every right to watch for these kinds of behaviors (see

Though, does that mean you need a specific clause to cover this issue? I dont think so - consider something that covers all modes of public congregation and set a bar: "Take care when congregating in 'public' in a manner that may expose confidential business activities and deal making. As well, when conversing in 'public' ensure business related communications and material are not visible or audible."

Another social media issue businesses face is the impact of youtube videos streaming over IT networks. As it turns out, this is just one form of download that many of us need to do our job. The policy coverage required should pertain not just to media but also downloads, time spent shopping on ebay and many other online activities. Policy needs to set a bar allowing usage for work purposes and some degree of free time (we all need a break or need to take care of personal needs during business hours).


Every business would benefit from having a social media policy in place, but it should not be an all or nothing approach. Instead of having a policy in place that blocks social media completely or doesn’t block social media at all and expects employees to follow policy rules, why not block some pieces of social media and keep some parts of social media accessible? Social media is growing in the business world and companies would be missing out on its benefits if it is blocked entirely. Palo Alto Networks might have found a solution to this problem, they have a new software that has the ability to do thing such as a read-only facebook. I think companies could really benefit from something like this, what do you think? Here's a link to new whitepapers they have created:

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