Thursday, 16 December 2010

Social Networking

Courtesy of a good friend of mine over at Jumblerant - I've been directed to another discussion regarding the use of social media in the workplace in general, and EMS in particular. Admittedly this was an infraction that harmed no-one else but the person involved, and no patients or their confidentiality were compromised, but nevertheless the discussion points are there.

Is there an argument for total freedom of speech in and about the workplace, or should there be some limitations? Is chatting to a friend in private any different from posting a rant on Facebook or Twitter?

To my mind, and the rule I've tried to follow whilst writing this blog is that biting the hand that feeds you isn't particularly wise. So, say what you think, but think about how you say it!

What do you think?

Comments welcomed!


SaintPara said...

Having been at the sharp end of being hauled into the office about something I put on FB this issue gets me hot under the collar.

What was worse for me is that I secure my Facebook site. If you are not a friend of mine you can't see what I have written. This means it was a "Friend" that grassed me up. I was told off for posting something on "a public forum". My Facebook page is NOT a public forum. It's a private one. No different to me sending an e-mail to loads of my mates (Admittedly I decided not to argue this point with management - didn't think it would get me anywhere). Needless to say there was an FB cull and a further restriction to access so even less people can see what I say!

Problem is that with free speach, management can pull you in under "Bringing the service into disrepute" and the HPC can get you under "Professionalisum" issues. So really, as a Paramedic you don't really have free speach. You are bound by professionalisum. You are bound by confidentiality. You are bound by your employer.

I've found that speaking your mind gets you in hot water. Surely this can't be right? I know many of my collegues at the moment are quite down beat. Our work load is increasing and there are constant problems with vehicles and equipment. Yet we are not alowed to publicly complain about this. I could post the rather extensive list of things I started without at the beginning of a shift, but again this would be seen as "Bringing the service into disripute".

On the plus side we do have a great job (however much we can moan about it). It is fairly secure (something that we should be greatful of in these times) and is really worthwhile (sometimes). So perhaps our silence and lesser public profile is a small price to pay??

SueC said...

Your profession is not the only one with this dilemma although medical = personal so the patient isn't "just a customer" and there is far more to it.

It's a never-ending debate - does freedom of speech for person A cause offence or harm to person B. Bringing one's profession into disrepute also spreads across many professions and is used as a gagging technique.

The social media platforms are still not well understood by many people and, if they are "the management" they just don't get many aspects including private profiles. The issue of friends passing on information is also not new - just a different platform.

So, no straight answer although I can think of a few less polite ones !!

Fee said...

Interesting. I do counsel younger colleagues to be very cautious about posting on any forum where they can be identified by our employer.

That said, I suspect UK employees who've lost their jobs due to, shall we say, keyboard tourettes, won't have an NLRB to stick up for them. Sadly.

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

I try to stay as anonymous as possible so that I don't have to have that dilemma in my work place. I know that there is a social media policy coming down the pipe at my department and I think I'll just fly under their radar.

Anonymous said...

I work in the public sector, as a benefit investigator. Although I don't blog (I am not very interesting so would have little to say) I do visit a lot of forums and blogs. I make it a rule never to say anything I wouldn't want to explain away to my boss.
My facebook is secure, but I still don't mention work really on it. My direct boss is a freind on fb (and in the real world) so anything I did write would be seen anyway.
My thoughts are as long as confidentiality isnot breached you should be able to say what you feel. In the same way I will tell freinds and family anecdotes about work but never anything identifiable about someone.

Michael Morse said...

I've been doing a blog for four years, and facebooking my posts for about one. I don't censor anything I write, but I also don't write anything that makes me feel uncomfortable. Every now and then I'll read something I've written and it gives me the creeps so I immediately delete it.