I was thumbing (or should I say scrolling) through a few articles over at the Wall Street Journal and came to a sudden realization that it is never quite cut and dry when it comes to who owns that last post, tweet or connection that we make through Social Media. In an article titled “Your Employee Is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do?“, Author Alexandra Samuel really focuses on building the balance between employer, and employee.
My take on both this article and on the balance that needs to be struck is that there is no simple answer to this problem. I tread the fine line every day between the Personal Brand that I have built and the Company Policy that I adhere to. The challenge that is really faced by employers as I see it, is how do you truly capture and expand the options that Social Media has for the Corporate Brand by leveraging the greatest strength they have at their disposal?
When it comes down to it though, there is a real question about ownership of the information and the contact lists that are built. Does that LinkedIn Network belong to employer or employee? The Twitter following of 1000’s who wait for the next Tweet about a deal or insight…is that a personal ownership or belong to the company?
Sure there is the potential for a lot of “cross pollination” when it comes to the building of Social Networks and contact lists…but regardless how much or how little time is spent on actually building and fostering that network…unless the employee is an endentured servant…the list is more about the connection between individuals than between Brand and Consumer and should belong to the Employee (unless it is a “Branded Identity”-meaning a company sponsored connection).
In my opinion, it really boils down to an open line of communication, a set of solid guidelines and options for employees to expand their horizons within Social Media. There is never going to be equality between staff…that is just a reality but for those that embrace the new world, there are enormous benefits…to both employee and employer!