As Facebook becomes more and more ingrained into our every day activities, it is extremely humorous just how many major mistakes are made by nearly everyone involved. However, when it comes to the use of Facebook in the office, I am stunned by the amount of inadequacy and missteps demonstrated by businesses, employees, and even Facebook itself. Let’s break it down and look at each of these three groups individually, what they do that is just mind-bogglingly foolish, and what they can do to, you know, stop doing those things.
Quick, what is the most valuable resource at your company? I’ll give you a second.
Ok, what’s your answer? If you didn’t say “employees” you need to look at your books again. The truth is that employees are the best investment for your business. Without quality employees you will have a business that is paralyzed in inadequacy. So, what makes a quality employee? Forgive a quick chain on deductive reasoning, but it seems to me that the best employees are the ones who are passionate about their job. The ones that are passionate about their jobs are the ones who are treated well. Therefore, the best employees are the ones who are treated well.
Hey, you know who isn’t treated well? Prison inmates! I don’t know if you guys are locked in a room or something, but the comparison between corporate life and prisons is not exactly new. And that is exactly the comparison your employees will make when you either restrict access to social media, monitor access and messages, or worst of all, request employee passwords. I am sure there are a million liabilities companies face, so I understand the need for some restrictions on communications and website visitation. But come on, do you really think that employees are going to be comfortable with giving you social media passwords? At this point, Facebook is so integrated into our daily routine that access to our profiles is the equivalent of identity theft. Because requests like this are generally made in a job interview, the prospect may very well say yes. They are looking for a job, and in this economy it is not easy to say no.
So, congratulations! You will effectively be hiring an indentured servant. Screw creating a positive relationship with your employees, you will big-brother the shit out of their networks. Wouldn’t want them posting statuses about your uber-1337 organization! Oh, by the way, say goodbye to any personal initiative or loyalty, because those indentured servants will be looking to leave your Soviet-ass ASAP. By the way, if someone wants to steal and distribute corporate secrets or talk shit about you, they have about one hundred better and smarter ways to do that than posting to Facebook. A good old flash drive is one standby. And guess what, because they have no loyalty to you aside from getting a paycheck, they have every incentive in the world to take those secrets to competitors willing to offer them more money. Yay for corporate mercenaries!
I was definitely picking on businesses up there. But to all of the employees, why do you have to pull dumb crap that validates the privacy-destroying policies of our overseers? I briefly mentioned this inane phenomenon in a previous post, but let’s go further. People seem absolutely determined to make an ass of themselves on Facebook. I think, because the interactions take place online, they assume a certain level of anonymity. Quick, look on your profile. Is that your name and information on your profile? Then you are not anonymous, and you should not assume you can just say whatever you want without repercussions. Seriously, I have a fantastic idea: Don’t post anything negative about your company on Facebook. We can generalize this further for an even better effect:
1. Don’t say anything about your company on Facebook AT ALL.
2. Don’t talk shit on Facebook AT ALL.
If people stopped doing these two things, then approximately 99% of all the “Facebook Horror Stories” would cease.
Actually Facebook, a lot of people always be talkin’ mess about you guys, but I have a lot of respect for what you do. So, I will keep this short, and log only one complaint, and make one request, of you fine cats:
Right now employers request passwords and require employees to friend them to bypass privacy settings, and this is wrong. If you want to get all patriotic about it, I would say that it infringes on our Constitutional rights, but since the forefathers had really crappy internet connection they didn’t specifically say “No screwing with privacy policies.” The government has not stepped up to create or enforce laws against this kind of attack on personal liberty, but you guys at Facebook sure as hell can.
Even if you don’t want to bring suit, how about you just immediately remove the Facebook profiles of offending companies and leave a message on their old profile page that says something to the effect of, “these jackasses are oppressive and lame.” I would love for Facebook to lay the smack down on businesses who think they can do whatever they want to employees who are terrified of losing their jobs in a fraught economy. Please, please make this happen. People will love you for it.