What Comes First: The Training Or The Monitoring? Tackling The Issue Of Monitoring Employee Social Media Use

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DOWNLOAD AND READ THE FULL INSIGHTS PAPER: The Right and Responsibility of Social Media Monitoring

Across the world, nearly one in four people have a social media account. This could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr…the list continues. According to eMarketer, the number of social network users will increase from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year. That’s an 18 percent increase in just two years.

A couple of years ago, while watching a livestream of President Obama’s visit to Facebook, as the President walked in to the room, every single person raised their smartphone above their head.  ‘This is the new salute,’ I thought. This is ‘Social.’

—Karen Masullo, EVP of Social Media, Firestorm

We’ll throw some more numbers at you; more than 1.1 billion Facebook users upload 350 million photos a day. In just one minute, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. During Hurricane Sandy, Instagram users posted 10 storm related images per second.

In addition, 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites each day. This number increases to 86 percent following March Madness. More recently, the World Cup final blew through all previous social  records: Facebook reported that 88 million (including 10.5 million in the U.S., 10 million in Brazil, over 7 million in Argentina, and 5 million in Germany) people had more than 280 million social interactions related to the final. And the match broke the record for the highest level of Facebook conversation for any single sporting event.

The final also set another social-media record: 618,725 tweets per minute on Twitter at the end of the match, exceeding the previous 580,166 tweets per minute during Germany’s 7-1 squash of Brazil.

What does this mean? Essentially, employees today of all ages and skill levels spend a great deal of time on the Internet, including social media sites. As long as the surfing doesn’t interfere with work-related tasks, it’s not an issue, right? Wrong.
Not only can the use of social media during work hours be detrimental to your business, but so can off-the-clock Internet use.

There’s a nation-wide debate regarding social media: Should companies monitor employee social media activities? When is the line of ethical and non-ethical crossed? But first, what exactly is social media monitoring?

Monitoring is the process that keeps you on top of what others are saying about your organization, brand and results. It alerts you to online customer requests, comments and when two-way communication is expected. Monitoring keeps you informed of relevant industry discussions, data and opportunities. It also positions you to track your competitors or learn what your employees are saying to one another about your organization and clients. Most important, it allows you to spot opportunities and risks and manage both in real or nearly-real time.


The number of cases of employees being fired because of online posting is astronomical. You may find numerous examples on the Firestorm Blog. Here are a few that stand out:RightsandRespPaper

In 2009, Timothy DeLaGhetto took to Twitter to publicly complain about his work uniform at California Pizza Kitchen. The former server tweeted to corporate, “black button ups are the lamest s**t ever!!!” Corporate took noticed, figured out at which restaurant he was employed, and the rest was history. Making the most of the firing, DeLaGhetto then created a YouTube video entitled “Twitter Got Me Fired!!!” to explain to his fans (from his point-of-view) the termination. The video has more than 500,000 views.

In June of 2010, former Pittsburg Pirates’ mascot, Andrew Kurtz, 24, was fired after voicing his opinion online. The former mascot posted, “Coonelly extended the contracts of…”…download the full insight paper here…

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