It’s hard to believe that fewer than 10 years ago, there was widespread concern that our computers were all going to blow up and there would be anarchy in the streets. Since the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000, we have seen an unprecedented technology boom that has had a widespread impact on the workplace. Remember the anxiety caused by cameras on our cell phones due to their impact on protecting trade secrets and our privacy in the locker rooms? Since then, we have grown comfortable with workers using laptops offsite though we still need to concentrate better on keeping track of them and what is on them!
Now, the social media craze — Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, etc. — seems to be causing employers the most recent concern. As editor of employerlawreport.com, I have come to achieve a certain comfort level with social media, but I think that what primarily is keeping many employers up at night is fear of the unknown. That is why I’m going to summer camp! Starting this past Tuesday and running through the second Tuesday in August, I will be attending Social Media Summer Camp, a Columbus Business First initiative. The first session, "Social Media 101," provided a nice overview of everything that is out there and how businesses have been and could be using social media to market their services and products. The attractiveness of social media from a marketing perspective is often easy to see and hopefully we will be able to use some of what we learn at camp to improve our blog and to otherwise better communicate with our clients and friends.
In addition, I’m keeping my employment lawyer hat on to identify potential issues for employers that are encouraging their employees to "friend" others or to "tweet" or are attempting to regulate how and when they do it. This past Tuesday’s session left me with one particular impression: Whether or not companies choose to use social media to foster their business, they would be wise to monitor the various social media outlets to make sure that others, including disgruntled and former employees, are not messing with their messages or creating unwanted ones.
So that’s why I’m going to summer camp. I’m taking my laptop with me, but fortunately for all involved, I’m leaving my bathing suit at home.