The following information is a guideline of standard corporate policy on employee use of social media while searching for employment and after being hired. Although social media has tremendous benefits for the user, there are issues and dangers to be aware of to avoid losing your job. Not only do they apply to employees and potential employees but to contractors as well. Companies want their employees to understand that they have strict rules governing your use of social media whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or a blog. They know you will participate in social media but expect you to be mindful of their wishes as they pertain to the company.
As an employee one of the most important policies is that you must never represent yourself or the company in a less than honest way. You must always use you real identity and acknowledge that you work for the company. Companies want you to keep all things above board and offer full disclosure. If you choose to write about the competition you must state only facts that you can substantiate. You must make your presentation in a polite and professional manner and answer all feedback or rebuttal the same way.
Another extremely important demand is that you never under any circumstances discuss any legal affairs or ongoing litigation or court cases that involve the company. This includes any other parties involved in the process. It is well known that even anonymous comments can be traced back to the original poster so use caution. In all matters legal or otherwise, protect the company’s privacy and confidential information.
As for your online activity that does not involve the employer and is purely social there may be laws in your state that prohibit firing someone without cause. In most cases in the United States if you are not part of a union you can be fired at will and without cause. If you vent about your job online or show any flaws of character not consistent with the company’s ideas you could be fired. In addition, job applicants are sometimes now required to turn over their passwords and login information for the company to scrutinize before hiring.
The above guidelines and your common sense should offer a layer of protection while still allowing you to partake of the benefits of social media and an online presence.