IT Managers Need To Know: Is There Such A Thing As Safe Social Networking?

by drjim on December 4, 2014

You can never be too cautious when it comes to social networking

You can never be too cautious when it comes to social networking
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Congratulations IT Manager: the world that you are operating in has become a lot more complex lately. What this means for you is that you’re going to have to determine what the new rules are for being successful in this world are and how to maximize the importance of information technology for your IT team. One area that is going to require a great deal of study on your part is the complex world of social networking: what is permitted and what is going too far?

The Problem With Social Media

As an IT Manager, you have a real challenge when it comes to managing how people on your team interact with customers. Depending on which industry your company operates in, there may be stringent rules that require you to monitor what the company’s employees are telling its customers. Financial services companies are especially aware of this.

No matter which social networking tool you are talking about, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., what the company’s employees have used these networks to tell customers may have to be produced if the company is sued or prosecuted by the government.

Social networks pose a problem for a IT Manager for two very different reasons. The first is that they often take place outside of the traditional corporate network. What this means that that the tools that you may be using to monitor what goes on at work, may not pick up what is going on in the world of social networking. Additionally, the sheer volume of the amount of interaction that can occur between employees and customers via social networks in the span of even a single day can easily overwhelm any monitoring system that you may have in place.

How IT Managers Can Safely Use Social Media

The first step in creating a way for your team to use social media in a way that won’t harm the company, is to take a look at how they create their online profiles. What a team member says in their online profile could easily step over the line of what is permitted. You have to set up a way for each employee’s proposed online profile to be vetted and approved. This might be a good time to reach out to the company’s compliance department, if it exists, and use their resources to accomplish this task.

The next step is to understand what you IT team really wants to do when it comes to social media. The goal is not to play policeman. Rather, you need to collect and store information so that if it is ever needed, it can be retrieved. Additionally, if there is ever a hint that something improper might be going on, senior management needs to be able to inspect an employee’s interactions with customers.

The good news is that software that can perform this task now exists. Software that can archive electronic communications no matter where the user is currently located, be it at work or at home, is now available for an IT Manager to use. This software works by logging activity by account, not by location. These tools also allow conversations to be spot-checked in order to ensure that they are in compliance with both company and industry rules.

What All Of This Means For You

The job of being IT Manager just got a lot more difficult. On top of everything else that you have to do, you now also have to find a way to ensure that your team members are correctly using the wide range of social media tools that they now have available to them.

The first step in making sure that social media is being used correctly is to create a process by which team member’s online profiles are checked before being posted. Ask the company’s compliance department to help out to accomplish this task. Next, install software that can track social media activity by account. This will allow you to capture all interactions with a customer no matter where the team member happens to be located.

The good news is that the tools that are needed to track how members of your teaam are interacting with customers via social media now exist. You will still be challenged to both implement and use these tools correctly. Take the time to study your situation very carefully and then move quickly to get on top of your company’s social media challenges.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it makes sense to restrict which social media networks members of your team use?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Managing a team of IT professionals is hard work when they all spend all day in the office with you. Transform this cozy scenario into the modern distributed workplace and you get a completely different scenario that you may not have the IT manager skills to deal with. Now you’ve got a much bigger challenge on your hands. What’s an IT manager to do?

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