Tweets Lead to a Fall for Former Microsoft Manager

Susan Hall
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Eight Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy

A list of points that you should consider while crafting your company's social media policy.

A Microsoft program manager who tweeted his impressions of a yet-to-be-released Nokia phone running the Microsoft mobile operating system is no longer with the company. GeekWire reports that a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that Joe Marini, principal program manager for the Windows Phone Web platform, no longer works for the company, but provided no other details.


Writer Todd Bishop says that sources inside Microsoft told him that Marini resigned after learning he would be dismissed for improper use of social media and disclosure of confidential information.


My colleague Lora Bentley has stressed the importance of having a social media policy in place before you need one. There are so many stories of ill-fated Facebook updates and unfortunate tweets that Lora could write full time about that if she wanted to.


To its credit, Microsoft does have such a policy, which urges employees to "be smart" and not disclose confidential information. Here's an example:

Yeah, the camera was good, but I didn't have optimal lighting. I'd like a larger screen too.

GeekWire commenters note this was not Marini's first time tweeting about yet-to-be-released features and that you'd be fired for far less at Apple.


Meanwhile, this Bloomberg article also says HP Vice President Scott McClellan inadvertently tipped off competitors to his company's Web-storage initiative earlier this year with a LinkedIn profile update. According to the article, monitoring social media has become a staple of corporate sleuthing, though people seem to be getting smarter about what they post. It cites a Forrester survey that found 82 percent of respondents use this data for competitive intelligence.


These are just further examples of how you need to be smart with social media in terms of your own career. Bloomberg quotes Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation, a monitoring and management service, saying:

Everybody who is in business with you, in a personal, professional, romantic, transactional relationship with you, is looking up information about you, is finding information about you, and then, most importantly, making decisions about what they find about you on the Internet. That's why everybody has a need and obligation to themselves, to their family members, to their shareholders, to manage their footprint on the Internet.

And if, as a company, you've yet to create a social media policy, our IT Downloads library is a good place to start. You'll find a wealth of resources there, including sample policies from other companies.

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