There is no doubt you know what YouTube is, but do you know about Vine? Well, Vine is a video app released by Twitter earlier this year that allows users to capture and share short looping six-second videos to Twitter and allows the user to tag people in the post. The app is easy to use and works a lot like Instagram (many call it the Instagram of video). When you tweet from Vine, it embeds your looped video — or what looks like an animated GIF — in your tweet and includes sound. Videos from Vine’s Make-a-Scene app appear in expanded tweets and play automatically. Vine videos can also include different clips stitched together into one video, rather than just allowing one continuous shot. In introducing the app, Twitter said the "brevity of the videos … inspires creativity."
Sounds fun, right? Well, Vine already had a porn problem, and when employers hear the words "creativity" and "video" in the same sentence they get scared, and with good reason. It was only a matter of time until workplace videos started to pop up. In a recent article, "The Latest Social Media Concern for Employers", The Wall Street Journal focused on the app and how searching such terms as "bored," "work" or "hatework" brings up some troubling workplace postings. Examples include videos of employee venting about their employers, a uniformed employee smoking from a bong and another of an employee looking through what appeared to be confidential documents. You can take a look for yourself. Here are a few fun ones: #sick #job #work; #wishIWasWorkingForXbox; and #Job #bor3dness #work4it, which contains footage of warehouse employees appearing to attempt sexual relations with a shelving unit, running and screaming through the facility and playing with safety equipment.
Daniel A. Schwartz, an employment law attorney at Pullman & Comley LLC in Hartford, Connecticut and editor of Connecticut Employment Law Blog, has been on top of this issue from the get go and has written a couple of great posts on this subject, which include links to some Vine workplace videos. He also noted the dangers of this App and with smartphones in general in the WSJ article: “Employers who are just concerned about what their employees are just doing on Facebook are missing the bigger picture of how smartphones are infiltrating the workplace.”
Takeaways: New technologies like Vine are popping up (or sprouting if you will) at an ever increasing pace, particularly for mobile devices. As more and more employees are bringing their mobile devices to work, employers must stay on top of these technological developments not only to take advantage of them for their own marketing purposes, but also to ensure that their workplace policies apply as broadly as possible to cover all new technologies, such as Vine, as they develop. This includes implementing proper BYOD policies and training employees to make clear what employees are and are not allowed to share on Vine and other social media platforms. With that, I’ll leave it to Mr. Schwartz because I think he summed it up best: “Vine is one of the fastest growing social networks. And people aren’t posting what they had for breakfast anymore.”