Since the Web hit the mainstream more than a decade ago, there has been an ongoing debate how much access, if any, that employers should allow their employees. The issue, which has embraced everything from productivity to piracy, has been exacerbated by the rise of social media and its role as a communications medium.
Not surprisingly, many employers are not terribly enthusiastic about employees using social media at work because of the potential to distract them and consume large amounts of time. Meanwhile, employees contend social media is a way for them to stay connected with friends and family while still getting their work done.
But the question is whether social media should or needs to be used by all employees, particularly if it has nothing to do with their job or whether its use might be problematic or controversial.
An interesting development within the social media/employee debate emerged yesterday when the Ontario College of Teachers released a report recommending that teachers neither accept or send out — Facebook friend requests involving students. The report also suggested teachers avoid texting and never communicate with students using a personal e-mail account.
There are obviously two sides to this issue. One is that social media offers new ways for teachers to communicate and engage with students. The flip side is it also plays into the sensitive areas of teacher-student relationships. Just how connected should teachers be with students? What are the rules of engagement within a medium in which the lines between professional and personal blend so easily?
While the Ontario College of Teachers’ recommendations may be seen as draconian or severe, it is clear it is leaning towards being cautious, which may seem like it’s going against the grain at a time when social media is increasingly ubiquitous.
At the same time, it does offer a new slant to the use of social media within the professional landscape – something many companies are still trying to get their heads around.
What do you think? Should social media be allowed within the corporate landscape?