Social media is everywhere and used in many business and personal situations. There is no indication that social media use is declining; rather, social media use is constantly expanding into new realms and taking on new forms. Social media launches political campaigns, international pop stars, and new businesses to heightened levels of success or failure with just a few mouse clicks. Because social media information has the ability to spread rapidly, not addressing social media or hoping it will not affect the employer's business is a dangerous practice. Currently, few employers have a Social Media Policy ("Policy"). By not having a Policy, the employer and its business are left vulnerable to the whims of its employees' social media actions and cannot guide employees toward using social media to protect and further the employer's business purpose. A Policy's existence makes the employer proactive rather than reactive. Further, establishing a Policy provides employees with clear expectations about when social media can be used, for what purposes, and what level of privacy an employee should expect regarding personal use. Finally, the employer needs a Policy to promote consistent enforcement among all employees. Inconsistent actions by supervisors for similar employee actions could open the employer up to potential employment discrimination lawsuits. Once the employer understands that it needs a Policy, the next step is deciding what type to implement. The employer must create a Policy that furthers the employer's business purposes. Regardless of whether the employer decides to ban social media or freely allow its use, the employer should always spell it out in a Policy that defines the parameters of social media use. However, before the employer establishes a Policy it should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of social media uses and benefits for the employer versus the cost and resources required to enforce such a Policy. The employer should consider the Policy's monitoring and enforcement costs and the employee productivity costs depending on the level of allowed social media use. Taking into account these considerations, this Article will instruct an employer or employer's counsel on how to best draft an effective Policy that will meet all of the employer's objectives.
Susan C. Hudson & Karla K. Roberts (Camp),
Drafting and Implementing an Effective Social Media Policy,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V18.I4.6