Recently, I had the opportunity to revisit a social media policy I had reviewed several years ago. (Check back to this post from 2008 to see how far we’ve really come.) In doing so, I was reminded — once again — how quickly the tech world is changing and how policies need to continually adapt. It seemed so quaint — with references to MySpace, Foursquare, and even LiveJournal. No mention of Snapchat, Instagram, or Vine.
And then I thought of the technology news from the last week demonstrating the dramatic rise and use of Facebook Live and Pokemon Go.
Facebook Live is a capability to broadcast — live — from anywhere (at least with a cell phone connection) at any time. It was used in dramatic effect in the shootings in both Minnesota and Dallas.
Pokemon Go is something different. It is a brand-new mobile game app with social media capabilities (you can join a “team”) where users search the real world for virtual monsters that appear on your cell phone in an augmented reality way. In just a week, it has nearly as many users as Twitter.
Both are going to cause employers big headaches in the months ahead — for differing reasons of course.
There’s no doubt that the rise of livesteaming apps is something new and revolutionary. And your social media policy should definitely be updated to reflect that. Imagine your workforce broadcasting live from your office — all under the guise of engaging in “protected concerted activity”. How should the employer react when such events are occurring in real-time?
A policy can help to provide some answers but it’s the exercise of thinking about what your response will be that can be just as helpful.
And then there’s apps like “Pokemon Go” — which are nearly unparalleled in their adoption. We’ve already had our first firing related to Pokemon Go and that’s no doubt the beginning. Forbes reports that employers are “nonplussed” with it.
But the response to this app is a bit easier. If it interferes with an employee’s workplace productivity or is a drain on your resources, it’s appropriate to limit it.
If your policy hasn’t been updated in a few years, use the rise of new apps as an excuse to bring it up to speed. You can’t keep up with everything but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them either.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look for Drowzee.