Watch your words

Watch your words

Adverse impact

Watch your words

Living in a generation where instant messages and communication are at a click of a button, people simply tend to put everything about themselves online. Thoughts, frustrations and personal details are put on the social networking sites without giving a thought to the repercussions that those may entail. A person’s life online becomes an open book for all to see.

Access to Internet in offices has led to employees posting and updating details about their personal and official lives on the sites much to the chagrin of the companies. Taking notice of this, many companies have started keeping a strict eye on their employee’s movement on those sites.

Recently, Infosys  announced that it will soon come out with a code of conduct for its employees, who are active on various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Says Sarah Vanita, spokesperson for Infosys, Bangalore, “Social media has changed the way we communicate. And anything public, comes with its own set of responsibilities. Infosys’ social media policy will provide guidelines on how to use social media effectively and responsibly as an Infoscion. Our policy, while encouraging usage of social media, creates education on responsible blogging keeping in mind the client’s confidentiality, company intellectual property and code of conduct.”

Agrees Babuji Abraham, from Mindtree, who feels that more than banning such sites in offices, awareness on how one can be responsible online is important. “Being part of an organisation means a 24-hour identity given to you by the company. It is very difficult to shed off that tag when you go on a public forum like Facebook or Orkut and communicate with others. One never knows where accidentally one may leak out some information to a rival, that’s why such codes of conduct are necessary,” he adds.

Many employees, on the other hand, say that such moves by companies curb their freedom to express themselves to a great extent. “It is not fair at all because if one really wants to leak out information or hurt the image of the company, they will find other ways of doing it, like through an anonymous blog. The idea of someone constantly watching you  online is not a good feeling at all,” says Pradeep, a software developer.
Suparna, an HR professional, feels that employees should explain for what purpose they are using the social networking sites.

 “If people are using it for a professional purpose like head hunting then it is okay for the company to interfere but when it is used for a personal reason to connect with one’s friends and family, I would definitely object companies monitoring what I write out there,” she adds.

The code of conduct, is however, meant to ensure that employees are responsible for their actions during interactions on social media sites.  Nirupama, an ex-employee of Infosys, says, “Facebook has privacy options where you can decide whether you want to give your boss or colleagues an access to your profile. Once you have given them the access, the information you post on your profile will be known to them. Then it will be unfair to expect that they will not keep a tab on you. I’m sure there is no such policy in any company which forces you to add or give access to your boss or colleagues! Ultimately, it’s on the individual to decide.”