The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media in the Workplace

If you are like a majority of the American workforce, you go to work and stare at a computer screen all day. With eight hours or more spent parked in front of a computer, your days at the office may find you faced with the temptation to waste your company’s dime and time on Facebook. Daily, the sirens of social media are beckoning you to navigate their way to help pass the time. So what do you do? Do you succumb to their call and sneak in a status update, wish your friend happy birthday, or play a quick game of Facebook Texas Hold ‘Em?

Why work when you can sow crops on Facebook?

According to a recent study released by the firewall provider Palo Alto Networks, that is exactly what an increasing number of workers are doing. After comparing results from Oct. 2010 with new findings from Nov. 2011, they found that the amount of bandwidth used for the active usage of Facebook postings, plug-ins and Zynga games had increased from 9% to 28%. According to, the study also found that Facebook use at work is no longer limited to just being left open on desktops; people are now more actively using the social network on company time.

These hard facts–which may prove upsetting for employers–could lead to an increase in company social media policies. Let’s face it–that increase would mean your boss officially micromanaging every detail of your work life, even down to your Internet use. Because no one likes to be babysat as an adult, or fired for wasting time on social media sites, NMR wanted to give you some tips for social media etiquette in the workplace.

Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media in the workplace:

Don’t: Take advantage of your employer’s lack of a social media policy

Because social media is a relatively new platform, many companies are still not enforcing a strict social media policy for employees. This means that employees have more freedom to troll, surf and comment at their leisure without being officially monitored or reprimanded.

Do: Self-regulate to avoid a crackdown on social media use

Just because someone is not looking over your shoulder or monitoring where your computer browsing takes you, it does not mean that you should be the one to ruin it for everyone. You are free from an official social media policy, but the excessive use of just one employee could bring to light the need for enforcement. Self-regulate your social media use to prevent a crackdown.

Don’t: Waste company time on social media sites

Wasting company time means wasting company money. No company wants to be wasting money in this economy; corporations are trimming the excess spending (and employees) at every turn to cut costs. Stick to updating your Facebook status on your unpaid lunch break to avoid being “trimmed.”

Do: Remember; you are being paid to work and are lucky to have a job

You receive a paycheck consistently for doing a job that you agreed to carry out. Your company is faithful in paying you, so you should be faithful in keeping up your end of the bargain. With unemployment rates so high and people struggling to find work, don’t waste any opportunity to prove your worth to your company. Plus, not holding up your end of the agreement could land you in the unemployment line.

Don’t: Share your personal opinions about your employer or coworkers on social media sites

If you are friends with your co-workers on any social media sites, avoid sharing your negative feelings about your company in your status updates. Not everyone needs to know what is on your mind, and should one of your co-worker “friends” share your discontent with your employer, it could cost you your job.

Do: Only use social media to update company pages or work-related use

Unless you are responsible for your company’s social media accounts, avoid hopping on Facebook or Twitter. Brand pages are super popular and important for companies to get their name out and inform their audience about new products or projects that are coming up. Keeping up with work-related social media is really important; keeping up with your personal Facebook Timeline at work–not so much.


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