Much of the impetus for this blog stemmed from a series of discussions I had with Crystal Peterson, Doe Anderson’s Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources, concerning the separation between online activity of a professional nature and that of a personal one. We both agree it is largely uncharted territory from both an employee rights and an employer per view perspective.
Crystal will be guest authoring on the subject here soon as she and I are working together to develop a spring presentation she will be giving to a group of area young advertising professionals. As we at Doe Anderson begin to develop both company policies and advice on the matters for our clients, I’m sure we’ll discuss, debate and converse about them here.
The primary concern for me was from an employee standpoint. Though mindful of the agency position and protective of its clientel and reputation, it has been my position that what someone does in their personal life, even online, is not the concern of their employer. Regardless of the open-mindedness of a given company, however, Crystal makes a valid point that HR folks, managers and other decision-makers will apply unwritten prejudices if they happen to know what is on a certain MySpace profile or Facebook wall post.
“Whether people want to admit it or not, the prejudices are there,” she told me.
And she’s right.
I began blogging about this issue on my public relations blog, The Straight Pitch. Several links are below for those interested.
We are interested in your take on the matter, too. Where should employers draw the line between someone’s personal life and the public forum of the Internet. Is not connecting yourself to your place of work online enough? Will employees with passionate opinions or those in need of a creative outlet have to resort to pseudonyms to self-publish in the Web 2.0 world? What are the Web 2.0 rules when it comes to business and whose job is it to write them?
We’d like you to tell us.