snapchat1I recently gave a presentation on social media to a local non-profit and had the opportunity to review some of the latest statistics when it comes to the use of social media.

Frankly, I knew that there has been a shift away from Facebook for some younger people but even I was surprised by the trendlines.   It’s happening much quicker and in bigger numbers than you might think.

And even more surprising, the big winner is: Snapchat.

Yep, the little app that I talked about in 2013.  (Think about how quickly and rapidly the technology has changed in less than four years.) Put another way, the disappearing social media sites that were just getting started are now big.

How huge? According to a new study of what social media sites college students use first, fifty-eight percent of college students said they open Snapchat first, compared with 27 percent who chose Instagram, 13 percent who said Facebook and the 2 percent who opt for LinkedIn.

Another recent survey by Pew Internet found that 56 percent of smartphone users between 18-29 years old use auto-delete apps like Snapchat. That is more than four times the share of users between 30-49 years told.

(Teen usage is even higher with Facebook as the fourth most popular app, behind Snapchat, Instagram & Twitter, according to a Piper Jaffray Fall 2016 study.)

Let’s not, however, write off Facebook just yet.  A whopping 79 percent of online users are still on Facebook.  But these overall statistics show that Facebook has lost it’s exclusive hold on younger online users.

From an employment law context, this continues to cause all sorts of headaches.

With disappearing snaps, for example, it can be difficult for employers to track down and monitor harassment in the workplace. (The fact that some Silicon Valley companies are under scrutiny is perhaps not that surprising, if still disappointing.)

And when it comes to document retention, in the case of a lawsuit, apps like Snapchat are a challenge as an employer tries to preserve relevant information.

For employers, I think it’s important to recognize that we’re in the next generation of social media apps.  If you’ve just caught up to Facebook, you’re already behind the curve.

What may be next? That’s hard to predict.  Some teens I know are using apps like Musical.ly to share content.    (Never heard of it? Well, over 100M users are on it.)

Other types of live broadcasting apps, building off of Facebook Live, continue to grow as well.

Employers would be wise to expand their horizons. A broad social media use policy defining proper use when it comes to the workplace is still a key component.  While you may be on Facebook, the generation entering your workplace just isn’t on Facebook as much anymore.

Interested in social media for business but wondering how to deal with a policy to manage it?

Central Connecticut State University’s Institute for Technology & Business Development is sponsoring an executive breakfast series seminar on October 3, 2013 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Social Media Policy.

I will be among the panel of speakers discussing the subject.  Along with me, will be:

  • Jessica Rich, Director of Operations and Employee Services at The Walker Group;
  • Suzi Craig, Director of Opportunity & Engagement at Fathom;
  • Rob McGuiness, Manager of E-Communications at Pratt & Whitney

In this presentation, we will be covering both the legal aspects of social media policy but also best practices for you and your company to follow.

The executive breakfast program is just $25 and open to the public.  My thanks to CCSU for the invite and TD Bank for its sponsorship of this event.

It will be held at the ITBD headquarters at 185 Main Street, New Britain, CT.  You can RSVP here to attend.  Hope to see you all there.

For additonal background on social media policy, see some of my recent social media policy posts here and here.

There is a certain bit of irony about recording an interview at work that appears on YouTube about, well, employees posting videos from work.

But if you can look past the irony, you might learn a few things.

In my interview with LXBN this week, we talked about how we got to this point with photos and videos in the workplace and why this is seemingly the NLRB’s “Next Big Thing”.

I talked about it in a prior post here.

My thanks to LXBN for the opportunity to appear. Always fun.

Besides, if you want something actually ironic, you should probably follow this meme.

Kodachrome

You give us those nice bright colors

You give us the greens of summers

Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah!

I got a Nikon camera

I love to take a photograph

So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

Paul Simon, “Kodachrome”

A few months back, I was one of the first to highlight the perils of a new video sharing service, Vine, in the workplace.  And then a month ago, I predicted that the NLRB was likely to jump in on the issue of photo and video sharing.

Little did we all know how soon that time would come.

As Jon Hyman, of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, highlighted:

It appears that Dan’s prediction was right on the money. Last week, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel published an Advice Memorandum [pdf] (dated March 21, 2012, but, for reasons unknown, which sat unpublished for 16 months).

Among other issues, the memo took up the following prohibition in a supermarket chain’s social media policy:

Do not use any … photographs or video of the Company’s premises, processes, operations, or products, which includes confidential information owned by the Company, unless you have received the Company’s prior written approval.

According to the NLRB Office of G.C., that policy is, on its face, an overly restrictive ban on employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activity.

As so, the idea that an employer can “take away” the employees’ photographs and videos — taken digitally, even on a Nikon camera — is now up for dispute.  This isn’t the last word on the issue so I would expect to see more news on this front in the not too distant future.

Until then, enjoy the greens of summer and this Paul Simon song.

 

At the Connecticut Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, NLRB Boston Regional Director Jonathan Kreisberg gave a thorough update on the agenda of the federal agency.

While most of the discussion focused on the latest pronouncements of social media, during my presentation on Vine and other photo/video social media sites, he also mentioned something that hasn’t often been discussed as well: employee use of smartphones to take pictures or videos in the workplace.

Indeed, Kreisberg said that he believed that there were a couple of cases winding their way through the agency now on whether such use was permissible or whether employers could restrict such use.  He said he would not be surprised if the Board upheld most employee use of videos or photos as a protected concerted activity or other protected action.

With Vine and now Instagram as very popular photo and video sharing apps on smartphones, the NLRB’s position could have a significant influence on employer’s attempts to rein such conduct in.

Will this be the next frontier for the agency? Stay tuned.