Social networks in the workplace

We all appreciate what the benefits are of using social networks externally and to some degree internally. But what are some of the dangers of using social networks within a workplace. In Social Networks in the workplace - some data protection issues the author looks at one of the biggest concerns around the use of social networks within a workplace Data Protection

Internal concerns about Data Protection usually boil down to an individuals concern that the content they post on a social networking site, for example a message board of instant messaging site, may be subject to scrutiny by colleagues or managers who weren't the intended recipient. Individuals may also be concerned that their use of external social networking sites and the adverts that are shown on these sites may also reflect badly on them. For example if you're looking at Facebook or watching a video on YouTube and an inappropriate advert is displayed, does this reflect badly on you and will this be seen by line managers?

So how should concerns around misuse of personal data within the workplace be handled. The author outlines two approaches. The first was to enforce the Data Protection act within the workplace. This might work if the social networking site is based in the UK but in most cases is going to be difficult to enforce. The second option is to educate users. This strikes me as a much more effective way to protect individuals and organisations from any data protection issues.

The final part of this article looks at how data protection issues affect an information managers work, especially where they might be involved in preparing policies around individuals use of social networking sites. Again the key is to ensure individuals are educated about the use of social networking sites, either through training or by providing guidelines and documentation around the use of social networking sites.

 [Photo credit - Data Protection from Mista Bob]