Social Media Scares


By Eileen Feretic

What would you do if one of your employees disparaged a competitor on a blog hosted on your site--and the competitor sued your company? Or suppose an employee inadvertently revealed confidential information on their personal Facebook page. How would you handle it?

If you haven't run into a problem caused by employees using social media, you very well may in the future. According to a survey of 2,060 adults conducted by Travelers (www.travelers.com/business/technology), about half of the adult population in the United States is actively using social media Websites--and they spend an average of 7 hours a week on them.

"As the use of social media grows at an unprecedented rate, especially among 30 to 49 year olds, the likelihood of businesses being affected by employee social media use also increases," warned Kathy Swendsen, president of Travelers Global Technology.

One particularly disturbing fact that came out of the survey is that two-thirds of respondents say their company does not have a policy in place for social media usage--or they are not aware of one.

That has to change. The potential for problems is huge and growing every day.

Travelers recommends developing a business-use policy, communicating with and training employees about social media, and enforcing the company's policy.

Now is the time to start.