Two Votes For Social Media Training at Work From Google & the Bloggess

I am a firm believer in providing social media training for new hires and employees within organizations.  Companies spend millions billions of dollars with union avoidance training, employee diversity, awareness training, and sexual harassment videos, presentations, and consent forms.  We (organizations and HR folks) don’t expect employees to figure it out so we provide them information as well as the facts to guide their decision making process.  Corporate CYA also plays a part.  By training you (eager employee), I (Company X) have done the due diligence and can sleep a little more soundly than they did before.  It’s more than a social media policy, social media memo, or some social media policies consent form.  Social media training for work and life should be no different, and proper training could help avoid a situation like that happened at Google this week.

Two Votes For Social Media Training at Work

Essentially an engineer at Google who is an experienced and seasoned employee with 6 years of service, sent out a message on Google’s social network, Google + meant for those employees within the organization.  It was a rant of sorts with a great deal of criticism focused on the engineer’s former employer, Amazon.

The ranting which is available to view here was posted accidentally for viewing publicly on Google + instead of internally through their social network.  Let me rephrase, THEIR OWN SOCIAL NETWORK, Google+.  The engineer who realized his error, deleted the post, but it was too late.  The damage had been done and now the fear that every CEO is realized when it comes to employee use of social media.  Accept it wasn’t some mom and pop company or small time organization.  It was freaking Google, the fastest growing company in the world with the second most visited website on the planet.  If a Google engineer, can’t get the memo and ensure that private company information as well as conversations are kept private, how can we expect our own employees to do the same?

We can’t. . . The engineer essentially hit reply all to the universe on the world’s largest search engine.  

Speaking of reply all, it’s not just social media that we should be worried about these days.  Email is still an area where things can go horribly wrong.  Jose, a Brand Link Communications employee accidentally hit “reply all” with the words “What a fucking bitch!” responding to a message received by a blogger who the PR firm was pitching to blog about one of their clients, the Kardashians no less.  By “replying all, ” Jose sent a message to the member of his team as well as the blogger being pitched.  When The Bloggess, a popular blogger with a million plus Twitter followers posted her blog about the interaction, the article quickly went viral and Brand Link Communications had one hell of a day.

Bottom line.  Social media is here to stay, but like sexual harassment we have to provide our employees with an understanding, awareness, and tools to be able to make good decisions.  Because these things have a way of getting out of hand.  And with the use of social media increasing daily as a business tool and a communication tool, it’s only going to continue. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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