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Consolidating Unofficial Social Networking Groups

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 10:37am Thursday 19 November 2009    Print Article

Have you ever checked Facebook or any other social networking websites to see if there are any unofficial groups created about your organisation? "I used to work at", "I work at", etc

For any organisation, there is the possibility that there maybe one or many unofficial group" created by past or present employees. Users create these groups to...
  • Stay in touch with former colleagues
  • Discuss things outside work
  • Socialise, interact, etc
That's great - your employees are staying in touch (there will always be HR issues around this). But how can we consolidate ALL these unofficial social networking groups?

You can do this the easy way, or the HARD way. There is at least 3 different internal stakeholders who will want to get involved - Human Resources, Marketing and your Legal department.

I believe the organisation has the right, and should try taking control (or allowed to become an administrator) of the group. If you find there are a number of different groups online, you should contact each administrator, and try to close the group down/merge into a super group.

The easy way is to directly contact the administrator of the group and ask politely. If they are a current employee and you have a social media policy/procedure/guideline in place you may want to enforce this.

If not, you could try going the hard way and proceed with Legal action against the past employees. Such as use of a trademark, defamation, etc.

It’s your employer brand that you have worked so hard to build can be destroyed by social media within minutes.

What ever you do, you need to do something!

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Article Tags: social networking social media social networking groups unoffical social networking groups hr facebook legal issues employees social media policy social networking policy social networking guidelines

Comments Hide Comments (2)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Ann (1:49pm Monday 08 February 2010)

I think you've really missed the point about social media here Thomas.

If I joined a group for EX employees of Company A there is no way Id be happy to see Company A sticking its nose in wanting to take "control" of the group!

Company A taking control of a present employee group I can totally see and yes it is there 'right' as the employees are currently employed with the company.

But emailing the administrator of an EX employees group asking to take over the group? You must be joking.

Firstly the admin person is under no obligation to let you take control of the group and second all the members will probably quickly leave the group, leaving you with a very lonely group not to mention the group just setting up somewhere else.

And telling people to "proceed with Legal action against the past employees. Such as use of a trademark, defamation, etc"" You are joking right?

This will only damage the companies reputation even more.

Best to ask nicely to join the group and then act as the calm and objective employers representative when discussions "heat up" over a topic.

Remember Thomas on social media and in networking sites there is no "control" and once companies realise this everyone will be a lot happier.

 Thomas Shaw (2:09pm Monday 08 February 2010)

Hi Ann, you need to look at it from the businesses perspective. This is a risk management issue that must be addressed.

I have seen a number of organisations try a softly softly approach first, and then if that does not work, proceed with a legal letter.

Yes, sometimes there may be a resistance, but wouldn’t you want a larger thriving community in one place compared with 100 smaller groups?

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