I've been talking to several different experts lately about what employers who are reviewing their corporate blogging/social networking policies should consider. And they've all said different things.
Not surprisingly, the business managers are concerned about staying ahead in the game, so they say, "Monitor what's posted to make sure confidential or proprietary information is not leaked." Marketing folks want to protect the company's brand and reputation, so they suggest prohibiting employees from speaking negatively about the company or its products, or posting anything that would cast the company in a negative light. And the attorneys are obviously most concerned with limiting the company's liability. They say things like "Be careful when you're screening prospective employees using social media sites," and "Monitor what employees post to guard against liability for slander or discrimination."
It all makes perfect sense, and they're all valid concerns, but it occurs to me that in all the dos and don'ts we may have forgotten the basics of common courtesy. And that's what John Cass, head of digital marketing at Pace Communications, focused on when I talked to him a few weeks ago. His list of corporate blogging guidelines includes these tips, among others:
Use short excerpts when quoting material from [other]sources; provide a link to any Web material.
And even if a client or partner has granted permission to be written about in the past, ask them again if you want to write about them again.
It's not too much to ask for courtesy - even in today's world.