Infographic: 2013 New Social Media Laws Take Effect

Every year Jan. 1 marks the start of new legislation taking effect around the country. This year several states have new laws on the books related to social media, specifically related to how employers can or can’t use your social media info, like passwords, to hire or fire you.

Check out this infographic for more details on these new laws.

Do you think these new restrictions will have much impact? Or are they a waste of time? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Olympians Take Sponsorship Protest Social to Demand Change

Last year I praised the International Olympic Committee for their forward thinking policy around social media at this year’s London games. The straightforward policy sets out rules that I think are fair while still being restrictive enough to give the IOC control over the brand everyone in the world talks about for a few weeks every four years. And considering how tightly they control the image in other settings, the policy becomes even more understandable.

But there is another rule Olympic athletes must adhere to, Rule 40, that’s become a hot topic in the Olympic conversation on and offline. Simply put, Rule 40 limits Olympic athletes from mentioning their sponsors unless they are Top IOC partners (aka advertisers).

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CNN’s Roland Martin Suspended After Super Bowl Tweets

CNN Correspondent Roland Martin was indefinitely suspended by the network this week after the outcry over his Twitter commentary during the Super Bowl grew too loud for the network to ignore.

During last Sunday’s big game Martin took issue with David Beckham’s H&M ad, tweeting “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”. At another point he wrote, “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass.” Many took his comments as advocating violence against gays and called for an apology, which trickled out over several days.

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Employers Adding Social Media to Background Checks

Social Intelligence, a company specializing in social media background checks for employers, is the subject of a profile in the New York Times.  It’s a brilliant and timely idea to focus on researching people applying for jobs–it takes the onus off employers, and as we’ve seen time and again, puts employees (current and potential) in the position of potentially having their entire social history follow them throughout their career.

The article is worth the read, and younger users should especially take heart. I recently became Facebook friends with the teenaged daughters of an acquaintance, and it’s not an overstatement to say I’ve been shocked not so much by the tone of their posts, but the frequency. Until friending them my youngest Facebook connection was my 20-year-old churchgoing cousin, whos posts typically contain sweet pictures, I-love-you-Mommy messages, and shout outs to best friends. These two new additions to my feed regularly join groups that might sound harmless on the surface, but it really only takes one person to misinterpret why someone “Likes” We Can’t Date Because of Your Race/Religion. For all we know this group could be doing the noble work of trying to dispel stereotypes about intercultural relationships, but how does that read in a report next to ALLLLL those other social interactions? Do these reports include any context beyond a title? Does it matter if they do?

This company is just taking the Google search that people are already doing when they get a resume, packaging it and selling it to a company, making it even easier to find more information that ever before. And I can only imagine that after this piece their phones are ringing off the hook with businesses ready to sign up.

AP Gives Staff New SM Guidelines

This week the Associated Press gave its staff AP Social Media Guidelines for Staff, just a week after it reminded employees of their responsibilities as members of the media to remain neutral on social networks.

The new guidelines are much more detailed not only on the tone of posts, but on the relationships that exist people between social networks. While the “Opinion” portion of the guidelines are straightforward, they aren’t new. For all the commenters lamenting/ranting about the loss of free speech implied by these rules, the fact is that personal conduct guidelines are nothing new in the professional world, and reporters have always been held to a higher standard and restricted from participating in political protests and the like. I learned this in first year J-school classes as an undergrad, and I’m glad the standards are still in place. The only new element here is the venue, in this instance social networks.

AP wisely encourages employees to take advantage of Facebook privacy settings, particularly in light of this requirement: “It’s important to monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards; any such material should be deleted.” I’ve done a good job of keeping the crackpots away from my social accounts, but every now and then someone posts something weird or inflammatory and I would hate to get in trouble for that mistake. For AP staff the best solution is to keep your bosses separate from those potential offenders, which is possible through the Facebook groups (and now Google+), but not available with Twitter.

I’m most intrigued by the rules about friending/following, especially among AP staff:

Managers should not issue friend requests to subordinates. It’s fine if employees want to initiate the friend process with their bosses.

I can think of a million reasons why this may not work (promotions? departures?) but its interesting that they address relationships among staff while also looking at external ones. Overall this update is robust and sensible–more companies would do well to follow AP’s lead.

Olympic Leaders Issue Social Media Policy for 2012 Games

As the world’s elite athletes begin preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the International Olympic Committee has issued a policy encouraging participants to use social networks during the games.

Coming in at four pages, the guidelines are actually quite easy to grasp considering the complexities behind the Olympic games, logos and trademarks. It’s so smart for the IOC to get in front of what is sure to be an onslaught of Tweets, status updates and now +1s about any and everything to do with the Games. In short, athletes are asked to share their experiences like an online diary, while media is asked to use SM for “bona fide reporting purposes.” Things are more restrictive in the Olympic villages where the athletes live, and of course the five rings logo is off-limits.

It will be interesting to see who enforces these rules and who the rulebreakers will be (because we know someone will break the rules). And the IOC’s guidance to “be dignified and in good taste” is a touchy-feely no-brainer that is right in line with the Olympic spirit.

Anthony Weiner Seeking Treatment for Twitpic Addiction

Making a public apology, going to rehab, seeking therapy–these are all the latest methods to get over bad behavior in today’s society. Rep. Anthony Weiner is just the latest in a long line of public figures using the therapy tactic to address his social media dalliances, vowing to keep his job but requesting a leave of absence to get treatment. Meanwhile the calls for his resignation have gotten louder, with even President Obama saying he would resign if he were in Weiner’s shoes. But so far, he’s holding his ground.

What do you think Weiner should do? Take the poll below.

Weekly Roundup: June 10, 2011

This is a milestone: we’ve reached the point where there are so many stories about social media firings that a weekly roundup is totally justified. I’ll be including brief stories here of folks who had interesting work weeks thanks to their actions on the social nets.

Florida Firefighter Fired, Arrested after Facebook Rants

NBA Player Gilbert Arenas Live-Tweets A Blind Date, Offends Many, Gets Fined

Nice-seeming Lady Makes Innocent Golf Comment via Twitter, Gets Fired by Uptight Boss

Happy Holidays!

This Christmas was a big one for my family–its the first time I have lived in the same state as most of my relatives for 15 years, and the first time I lived close enough to drive to my Mom’s house. No planes involved! It also marked the first time in years I traveled without my computer. I still had my iPhone, but I took a break from connectivity. At several points in the trip I turned my phone off completely and stashed it in my purse. It didn’t take long for me to forget about it altogether. I only updated my Facebook status once during our 4 day trip, but apparently I’m in rare company–Facebook was the most visited website in the UK on Christmas day, and I’m guessing things in the US won’t be much different when the numbers come out.

This site is focused on what social media means for our work lives–there are lots of other great blogs discussing how social media is affecting our communities, our families, and our selves as individuals. But I can’t tell you how refreshed I feel after skipping a few days of check-ins, updating and DMs. I didn’t miss anything and it feels great now to ease back in to the social world. So as you move through this holiday season look at how your connectivity is affecting you and the people you care for. Try to take even a tiny break if you can stand it, from work and from the web. The holidays are a great excuse to disconnect from the web and reconnect with each other.