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Workers’ tweets: Don’t lose control

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Are your employees’ tweets company records? The answer to this question depends on who is using the account and for what reason(s). From a records and information management [RIM] perspective, Twitter, and other forms of social media, are often difficult to manage. Generally speaking, tweets that contain unique information or support a decision would be considered records.

Twitter offers two-way communication between an organization and the public, including clients or customers. From a RIM perspective, organizations need to be aware of content created, collected, and received through Twitter to ensure privacy and personal information are being handled properly. For example, Twitter can be a great way to communicate a job posting, but discussing the position with applicants through tweets wouldn’t be advisable.

Tweets are public, by default, and Twitter keeps everything. Once an organization tweets, they lose control over managing them. That organization can no longer decide how long to keep tweets or when they should be deleted. Additionally, it can be difficult to find tweets in the future. Some organizations have found ways to capture tweets to save them internally.

Everything happens immediately on Twitter. The wrong thing can go viral instantly making it hard to react fast enough. Be proactive, prepare in advance for disasters and use social media responsibly.

Here are a few tips:

  • Write a social media policy.
  • Include Professional vs. Personal usage­—Is it permissible for employees to tweet about the company on personal accounts?
  • Train employees on the policy and how to use social media responsibly.
  • Define and document what each account will be used for, who will be creating/approving content, and who will be responsible for maintaining the account(s).
  • Only post content suitable to be publicly available that is not unique (e.g. notifications, hyperlinks to content, hours of operation, etc.).
  • Determine which accounts have content that needs to be saved and develop a routine way to do this.
  • Monitor the account.

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