Tool Or Fool?
It’s not uncommon for workplaces….especially in the entertainment industry, radio personalities…..to use the wide array of social networking sites out there to step “out of the box” to promote their on-air talent, on-air promotions, and the overall station presentation.
But make no mistake about it. As much as it can be an attribute to your station if used correctly, in fact, a fun on-air tool….it can also be misused, abused, and can wreak havoc with station operations if certain policies in place.
The policy here is that during business hours, these “social networking” sites should not be the focus of your work day. It’s kind of understood that if you’re using it as part of your on air show…..or to promote something you’re doing on the air that day….that’s a good thing.
Changing your status 10 times a day and complaining that “the boss sucks” or “looking forward to any other job but this one?” Not so good.
We recently had a couple of situations from employees that turned ugly that, 20 years ago, never would have happened in radio.
Details aren’t really relevant, other than to say that in both cases, their plans were made very clear on line(and unhidden) to anybody that knew them. People that knew them told me. And instead of the usual routine of giving adequate notice with a proper exit interview and a “don’t burn that bridge” send-off…..both situations turned into adversarial ones that most likely will prohibit us from hiring either one of these employees back again.
Throw in the fact that those that are in the “friend” category of the departed people only hear one side of the story…..you really can’t go on air and tell them what really transpired, or go on line and refute it (our legal team advises against it)…and you may lose a few listeners who know of a friend of a friend that wasn’t treated right by Brand X, even though if they heard the entire story, they may have a completely different point of view.
Stations can and will use a “no tolerance” policy regarding personal use of company computers, such as logging into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace….but that takes a great tool away from your station to pre promote and cross promote activities you either are currently doing or may do. These two situations have caused us to completely review our policies and revise them somewhat.
And I’ve found several instances where former employers- radio stations and clusters very similar to ours- have hired counsel to get the time stamped, libelous posts using proper legal procedure (if the posts were deemed to have been made from a terminal inside the radio station) and the former employee has more than just another job to look for and worry about.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and many others……they can be used as a tool for your stations….or can make you or former employees look like a fool. A good rule of thumb would be to never use a company computer terminal to post anything on line that you wouldn’t want discussed in a court of law, because that’s where it could very well end up.