Social Media Policy Almost = Blabbing Policy

March 18, 2010 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

After reading 10 Social Media Commandment for Employers, I was reminded of Blogging Policy = Blabbing Policy, a blog entry I wrote back in 2006 when the the "conversation" in the blog-o-sphere started to center on corporate blogging policies.

I don't care to debate the merit of each of the commandments, but do take issue with the concept at all. The fact that, in the past, there was consideration (by anyone) of corporate Blogging policies makes the point perfectly clear:

Companies don't need a FILL IN THE TREND HERE Policy, they need a Communications (Blabbing) Policy and a related Conduct Policy which governs employee behavior with respect to trade secrets of all forms and terms for legal and ethical conduct.

There is one facet of Social Media policy that could be worth special coverage in a communications policy. Specifically, certain employees who get involved on a business development level with potential partners could be a good target for your competitors' monitoring. If those employees, be they researchers, strategists, or CEOs are visibly connecting to a given set of like individuals from a potential partner's company, the likelihood of a potential partnership or business deal could be anticipated by your competitor.

So, if the formation of an incipient business to business relationship is covered by an NDA (or should otherwise be confidential), company employees ought to be careful about forming "following" or "link" type connections with individuals from the counter-party and, I believe, its perfectly in-bounds for a corporate "communication policy" to specify ground rules for "public gathering," rather than calling out social media specifically.

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