Rules of engagement for our new online society

I don’t think we should be surprised to be getting mixed message about the value of being online. On one hand some (Australian as it happens) recent research suggests that:

“people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.”

Meanwhile, we have had a run of more scare stories locally about people getting sacked over online behaviour, in particular negative comments about their employers or their jobs.

I have to say, searching around some of the social networking sites it wasn’t that hard to find examples of things, in the current environment, that could get people into trouble based on those reports. I am actually surprised by the number of people who either don’t know or don’t care about privacy settings on social networking sites (even people who might catch the media’s attention right now – perhaps they aren’t looking that carefully?).

Of course, one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and the vast majority will realise that the cluetrain was right. But even then I suspect a little common sense will still apply. I think the younger generation is going to be a lot more savvy about navigating the norms and values of a hyperlinked society. They at least are getting exposed to educational material like this:

Only say online what you would say face to face

Hat tip to Mark Woolley for the video – there are more on his original post.

Still, I can’t help thinking organisations should be more worried about what their customers and other people are saying about them because, unfortunately, in most cases you can’t sack them..

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