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One of the early changes our legal team identified for McGraw-Hill was to change the name of these two group type,  We changed "Private" and "Secret" to  “Invitation Only” and “Unlisted” (after the You Tube term).   They cited case law that made its way up to the US Supreme Court regarding the 4th Amendment to the Bill of Rights.  They had concerns that by using the terms private and secret it could create a situation where it would be deemed illegal for the company to monitor activities in those groups.  As a regulated company (we own Standard & Poor's) we are required to archive and perform surveillance on electronic communications.


I’ll start by saying I am not an attorney and I don’t play one on TV either, however I’ll do my best to explain what our legal team is seeing. 


The 4thamendment deals with your rights regarding search and seizure. We normally think about it in the context of the police needing a warrant and reasonable cause to search your private spaces such as your home or car.  In the workplace it has applicability as well.  If you as an employee have a reasonable expectation of privacy then the company can not invade that privacy by using your words or actions against you.  There are lots of cases that have made their way through the courts regarding social media tools.  As an example, cases involving Facebook were cited.  Employees argue this is a private space and the company can’t take action against them as the company has no right to review that content even if it occurred during company time and on company equipment.  The employee had a “reasonable expectation” that their Facebook post to their friends is a private matter not to be recorded by their company.


Not all of these cases were ruled in favor of the employee, but the fact that so many work their way through the courts and that 4th amendment rights will trump any corporate policies one might sign, the legal team had concerns over the group names.  If a group is called “private” or “secret” they can easily foresee how someone may argue in the future that the company had no right to monitor or review the content in those groups because they gave the employee the “reasonable expectation of privacy”.   


So particularly for financial services firms that need to record all conversations such as these, it was easier to change the wording than take the chance.  Using the phrase changing feature in the admin console is the easy way to do it.  Although we found a couple of locations that did not change with this approach.  There is a more thorough approach by changing the web application text file that lists all labels in the system.  Your technology team or Jive Profesional Services could implement that.  This approach has proven to be very effective.   Additionally, we have made changes to "Private Discussions" and related labels.  We now call them "Direct Discussion" (we are on version Jive SBS


Here is a product idea for Jive to review and add to a future release.


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Hope this is helpful. National Instruments, we've been making continual tweaks to our Employee Social Media Guidelines. (As an FYI/heads-up, FTC requires any company participating on social media sites to have employee guidelines on social media usage. If you don't already have your own, you should seriously consider creating some soon.)


One of our guidelines that has generated more polarizing discussion than others is Guideline #6, which states:


6. If you participate on social sites, do so responsibly at work so they do not interfere with productivity.

You wouldn’t hang out in the breakroom all day, so don’t spend all day on social sites like Facebook either. It's fine to check your social media accounts occasionally as long as it does not interfere with your work productivity and job expectations. We also encourage you to create and participate in groups on NI Talk [NI's internal instance of Jive5] but again, be reasonable about the amount of time you spend on non-work-related groups during the workday.


This guideline is purposely open-ended, placing trust in NI employees to make the right judgement call on when and how much to engage on social media sites when at work. I know some corporations completely restrict any social media site usage by employees at work altogether.


However, a recent study article shows that more and more, employees will expect to have the freedom to use social networking sites in the workplace.


'I want my Facebook': College graduates say freedom to use social media at work is more important than a large salary


The article goes on to site some very interesting survey data from Cisco (2,800 students and young professionals surveyed worldwide on what they want from employers and what they consider to be an equitable work/life balance):


  • one in three college graduates said that freedom to use social media sites, like Facebook, at work was more important to them than financial compensation
  • over half the students surveyed said that if they were offered a job at a company that banned social media use, they would either turn it down or ignore it altogether
  • four in ten of those already in the workforce said their companies convinced them to take the job by offering friendly social media policies when recruiting them


So, I'm curious to hear the thoughts from you, internal community managers. Have you had this discussion with your leadership, HR and legal teams? What's your stance on social networking usage at work? And do you classify Jive as a social site? Have you seen any cases where you've had to draw some lines on employee usage of Jive's social enterprise platform?

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