Another day, another social media #fail.
This time it was in Singapore and the furore was ignited by a (now former) employee of NTUC, Singapore's largest member-based organised, Amy Cheong. She posted racial remarks on her personal
Facebook page that managed to offend almost everyone. There's a screenshot of the comments below. Here are a couple of great links to Phatfreemiguel's Blog and Marketing Magazine for more background info.
One of the problems (outside of the offensive remarks) was that it was on her personal Facebook page. So does this mean that it's ok to vent, swear and make offensive comments on your own private Facebook or other social media page? The answer is no. There is no such thing as privacy in social media, and the idea that the page or platform is private is a lie.
Everything you do on social
media is public, even if on a supposedly private page.
Comments can be
copied, pasted and spread easily over the Internet. And the worst thing
for someone when it goes wrong is that it never, ever goes away. It will
be there forever, easily searchable on Google or Bing.
Today every employee is using social media, whether it be Facebook,
Twitter, Linkedin or posting comments to forums and blogs. The real problem
is that few organizations have yet caught up with use of social media,
whether employees are using it in the workplace or not. The fact is that
it doesn't matter whether bad social media behavior is on personal or
company time, there's an expectation of a minimum standard of
professional behavior in a public forum. Every
organization must have a social media policy, in the same way they have a
use of IT equipment policy, an ethics policy or a code of conduct. It's
absolutely essential. Even more importantly, after an organization
implements a policy they have a responsibility to train all employees in
what's expected of them, their rights and their responsibilities both
at work and in personal time. Social media is here to stay. Ignoring it
is not an option.
The best thing any organization can do is quickly get
up-to-speed on this, otherwise issues like the Amy
Cheong incident in Singapore could happen to one of your employees or
to your brand. The consequences of getting it wrong can be damaging and
long lasting if you get it wrong.