Today, I spoke at my firm’s semi-annual Labor & Employment seminar on seemingly everyone’s favorite topic lately: social media. We had a huge crowd today and had a lot of audience participation. I know I speak for my whole department in thanking those who attended.
One of the topics that several people spoke to me afterwards about was the notion of these new “disappearing” social media sites. I touched on this a bit earlier this month with Snapchat — an app that allows people to send or receive pictures or videos that “self-destruct” after a few seconds.
But that’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Now, we’re starting to see social media sites that allow you to send “disappearing” messages and updates.
Take, for instance, an app called Ansa, which promises that you can “communicate off the record, so no trace of your conversation is left behind.”
Or a new app called Skim which “erases your messages as you read them… then they’re gone forever. With Skim, you can text your friends, knowing that it’s just like a conversation. No record, no regrets, no worry.”
(Strangely, both sites feature sample messages from an “Ashley” — might this be a clue that people named Ashley have a propensity to use these sites?)
As the founder of Skim stated in a recent article on Techcrunch: “Disappearing content is a growing trend, yet nobody seems to do textual messages very well. At Skim, we have a design-first mentality. Simplicity and beauty is incredibly important, but even more so is security,” said co-founder Jordan Singer. (h/t Ryan McKeen)
For employers, however, all of these new sites — from Snapchat to Skim — should give employers a big headache. How will you deal with document retention obligations in lawsuits? How do you keep track of these? What if these sites are used for cyberharassment of other co-workers?
In today’s seminar, I discussed how there aren’t a lot of great solutions. The days of simply putting up a firewall at work at over.
Instead, employers need to survey their vulnerable areas, develop a policy, educate employees about the parameters of the policy and monitor how the policy is working.
Most of all, employers need to understand the scope of the issue we are dealing with today. After all, college kids aren’t all on Facebook anymore — and neither are your employees.