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Labour Relations

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It is years since I worked for clients, certainly before most contemporary social media platforms/applications, and I have watched the stumbling, bumbling, occasionally brilliant direct audience/customer outreach of various businesses with interest. And always one simple question: if a business is unable to honestly effectively interact with it's employees how likely that it will/can do so with it's customers?


I was reminded of this lingering question while reading a report from Lafe Solomon, Acting General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board: Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases, pdf file, 132KB, 24 pages.


This report presents recent case developments arising in the context of today’s social media. Social media include various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources. These tools can encompass text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications. Recent developments in the Office of the General Counsel have presented emerging issues concerning the protected and/or concerted nature of employees’ Facebook and Twitter postings, the coercive impact of a union’s Facebook and YouTube postings, and the lawfulness of employers’ social media policies and rules. This report discusses these cases, as well as a recent case involving an employer’s policy restricting employee contacts with the media.


The decisions are based on US regulations and while of interest to Americans it is the overview, the (mis)use of social, the (mis)understanding of boundaries highlighted (explicitly and implicitly) that should be of interest to all webdevs, particularly those working with businesses. What I found interesting is the general business misconceptions of social media, the apparent widespread inherent distrust of employees, and the fear of their use of it. Sadly, to many of us here at Cre8 this is unlikely to be a surprise.


What you may not have considered, however, is how probable that such paranoid destructive attitudes will transfer online, particularly in social media. When considering a new client have you ever analysed employer-employee relations? You should. Or you may find yourself wondering why they simply do not 'get' it.


Of course, there are always exceptions. And serendipity. But likely? Not.


It is better to understand the internal culture of a business, however rancid, and to work with it then otherwise. Consider it an unspoken constraint of the project.

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