Anti-social media and business
11th April 2012
... Comments

Anti-social media and business

What started as a great way to chat to your mates (and waste time at work) has turned into a multi million dollar industry used by businesses to promote their brands.

The drunken college photos and tactless remarks published in the heat of the moment come back to bite . . . and suddenly people are saying “It’s private” about things they published to millions of people. Today people are talking about copyright, advertising codes and list ownership . . . and the old idea that somehow “cyberspace” or social media was outside the legal channel is beginning to fade.

It’s just like when pop festivals went from being free to paid.  The front line hippies move on to something else, and business moves in and turns the festival into something profitable, structured (and sometimes with better loos).   Years later, the same thing happened with raves.

Though your mates might not remember what you did at Glastonbury or the local rave, the problem with social media is there is a record that everyone can see years later.   Your hateful rant about the guy/girl that dumped you reads like a sexist polemic from a trainee stalker . . . and here you are applying for a role in a front line equal opportunity employer’s PR team – and there’s your rant still drifting about, fatally undermining your pitch for the dream job (now) that you had no idea you would ever be interested in (then).

Social media is growing up.  It is still dynamic, exciting and fascinating to use for business and personal communication.   But now a whole set of legal rules are being applied.   From copyright, to slander, to harassment – the real world and the virtual world increasingly coincide and collide.  

Business needs social media, and people who know how to use it.   It is too late for corporates to ban social media in the workplace or from corporate communications.  Even if you were to try to do this, or block access from company systems, people have it on their mobiles.  In Irenicon, we use social media – from Twitter, to Facebook to Googleplus and Wordpress to promote our business and reach out to people who might want to work with us and think with us about the issues that count in the workplace.  How could we ban that?

What we need are social media policies that help people realise the effect they are having, but allow them to do their job which will increasingly involve using it.  We need bosses to understand the risks of social media and how to manager them.

Annabel Kaye is giving a series of talks on the legal side of social media - you can join her:

• in London on 19 April - book via this link
• via a free KoffeeKlatch teleseminar on 8 May - book via this link
• in Margate on 22 June - book via 1230twc link

She is a keen user of social media:

Follow her:


Google +



Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.
Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website:

About the Author

Maud T

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi - me and my gang champion and promote the best businesses in the Croydon and Bromley Boroughs. If you are a local business owner, then we'd love to help you grow your profile, profits and get more business.

Popular Categories