Trial by Twitter part 2

In the second of her guest blogs, Kate Anthony Wilkinson shares 5 more Twitter lessons you should learn


Recruitment checking

  • More recruitment agencies are now checking for on-line information as part of the recruitment process, so once more that silly joke, rude comment or embarrassing photo may come back to haunt you. Companies may wish to consider adding an on-line search to recruitment checklists but should be careful about relying solely on such information as the reason for rejecting a candidate. Lesson: Social media can survive a long time and come back to haunt you!



  • The use of Twitter or social media for advertising your product or company can be very effective, reaching new audiences and being instant. But remember the ASA requirements to avoid misleading posts and Tweets. Mars and Snickers both had their corporate knuckles slapped for paying celebrities to Tweet positively about products without adding the #advert or #sponsorship tag. Lesson: Remember the rules on advertising.

Loss of Productivity

  • For employers this may be key and itself justify the introduction of a policy. Research has shown that lost time due to the use of social media costs UK employers £1.5 billion a year. Employers should therefore consider what is permissible usage, where can social media be used, on what equipment and what sanctions will apply, as an employer may still be held liable for an employee’s actions or incur loss or damage even if social media is used outside of working hours. Lesson: If you intend to monitor employees use of the internet and social media during working hours then you need to inform them of this.

Human Rights

  • The need of employers to protect their confidential information, business reputation and productivity needs to be balanced against freedom of expression. In preparing and enforcing any social media policy an employer needs to ensure proportionality. But arguments on privacy by an individual will be difficult to sustain as on-line information and comments are generally considered public information. Lesson: On-line is not private.

Generation Y factor

  • Although for many employers the natural reaction is to try and restrict employees use of social media or indeed internet use during working hours unless necessary for their job, working ways and methods are changing. Generation X has come to terms with the internet; Generation Y has been brought up with electronic communication being as essential as food and water. Too strict a working environment may deter younger bright creative employees from joining and bringing with them a new way of working. HP believes in embracing new communication technology and it and a number of other large companies have a very relaxed internet and social media policy. Time may tell if this works. Lesson: Be open minded!


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