Dangers of Social Networking in the Workplace

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Dangers of Social Networking in the Workplace
Kenneth Morrow
University of Maryland University College
18 March 2012

Abstract
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace are all social networking sites that the majority of today’s society have heard of and more than likely use on a daily basis. These sites can be useful tools for a plethora of information and do have added quality in the workplace. However, if employers and employees do not use these sites properly or more importantly understand the dangers of social networking there can be alarming consequences that could include loss of occupation, serious liability claims, or never acquire employment at all. Constant vigilance and reminders that social networking is not private must be in the forethought of all employees and employers with consideration to the workplace.

Dangers of Social Networking within the Workplace
Introduction/Background:
Social networking has swept across the globe becoming not just part of our personal and work lives, but consuming our entire existence. There are benefits of social networking in the workplace that brings vast amounts of information and people together. One such benefit is recruiting for new employees. Very large corporations are starting to use social media tools, for instance LinkedIn, to troll online for potential job candidates. LinkedIn, has over 6 million followers, which has created a social networking Rolodex for potential employees. One manager handling staffing for Starbucks swears by LinkedIn and claims to have hired several people recently as a result of her social networking (King, 2006). Unfortunately, there is a reverse side of social networking which can also be just as formidable. Some employees may have privacy issues with companies and feel they have been violated, especially with non-work-related sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. "A number of companies are using public social networks to spy on employees," says Danah Boyd, a social media researcher and graduate student researcher at USC Annenberg Center for Communication. These types of searches are legal by potential employers because the information is voluntarily posted by the applicant for anyone to see. "You have to act like you're always at work, and it doesn't necessarily make people happy nor does it necessarily make good workers," Boyd says. The potential employer should be advised that such activities must ignore any information that would be considered in protected categories, such as race or age to avoid any legal consequences (Baker, 2008). Social networking provides a dimension that can never be erased, eliminates privacy, and is extremely difficult to monitor and track. Social networking poses a diverse challenge to the workplace, which employees and employers who post their lives on-line via blogs, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and Facebook reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. This lively approach to posting often leads to problems in hiring and employee relations as well as employers learning too much information about their employees. Social networking is a tool that can be used by both employees and employers, and like any tool it is important to understand how to use this powerful tool in a safe and efficient manner. The dangers associated with the misuse and misunderstanding of social networking can be devastating in the workplace for both employees and employers, therefore it is essential to study those dangers in order to avoid them. Results/Discussion:

People around the world record their lives on social networking sites; sharing personal information, photographs, and personal opinions. By using sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, to keep up to date with friends, to express them, or to find compatible people, they do not realize and frequently overlook that the information they post may have importance to future employers. Some employers have even withdrawn probable job offers based on...
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