I had a fantastic weekend with my boys. We went hiking and arrowhead hunting (unsuccessful) and came home hours later, dirty but with smiles on our faces. Like any good mother, I promptly attempted to post pictures from our adventure to my Facebook account from my phone. That didn’t go so well and, foiled by technology, I sat down to my computer to try again. Now, I haven’t spent much time on Facebook since my forced conversion to Timeline, so I was a little horrified to discover what was there: Hooters.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like wings. I like owls (check out our awesome blog avatar for proof). But, I have never been to Hooters. Yet, the first thing that draws my eye on my Timeline is a map with a little teardrop proclaiming to all that I spend my spare time at Hooters. And, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make it go away. Perhaps you think I’m silly to worry about such a thing, but give me another minute of your time before you make up your mind.
Scrolling further down the Timeline of my life for the past three years, I am aghast to light upon a summer vacation picture of me. In a swimsuit. Are you feeling my horror now? See, I did not post either of these items. I was tagged by others so that I could see their posts that they thought might be interesting to me. Those tags automatically post to my Timeline for all to see and without me having to lift a single finger.
I’m not a Facebook guru. I’m not here to tell you how to stop these automatic posts from happening, or even if it’s possible to stop them. But, many employers – my own included – have Facebook pages for their business. Timeline, however, could create pitfalls for less-than-vigilant employers. Suppose you fire an employee who has already friended your company. Vitriolic diatribes or other distasteful materials could be posted to your Timeline for the world, and your customers/clients, to see. Customer complaints and adverse publicity could also find their way to your Timeline, and you may not even realize it. Such posts can be damaging.
In my view, a business using Facebook should have someone knowledgeable about the program responsible for monitoring its site. This individual’s email address should be the one that gets posting updates, so these can be viewed immediately for appropriate content. Guidelines should be set with regard to the kinds of posts that will remain visible on the business’s Timeline. When employees leave their employment on less than civil grounds, this individual should be informed so that the company can unfriend that person. Just as employees should be cautious as to what they put out there in the public arena, so should employers. If you have any suggestions for our readers on this issue, I’d love for you to share your views.