Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dealing with Legal Risks of Social Media

In my post last week, I've shared about the benefits and risks of social media in organizations. Today, I'll be sharing more on the legal risks of social media in an organisation and how they can use Social Media Policies to address these risks.

To make things easier, we'll be using Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) as this week's example. Located at Herston within the Metro North Health Service District, RBWH is a key provider of health care services for Queensland Health. Ever since it was established, RBWH has been providing state-of-the-art medical care and the best possible outcomes to all their patients over a comprehensive range of specialities.

With hundreds of patients and a good number of staff, this 929-bed public hospital has a good chance of exposure to legal risks caused by social media. Possible legal risks that organisations face for implementing Enterprise 2.0 includes:
  • Trademark infringement
  • Copyright breaches
  • Privacy breaches
  • Defamation
  • Conduct of employees that an employer may be liable for

As for an organisation like RBWH who is in the healthcare industry, the most common and relevant legal risks would be:

  1. Loss and disclosure of confidential information - With many doctors each dealing with at least 100 a year, this risk becomes particularly relevant to RBWH. Suppose a doctor befriends all his patients through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and one day, he decides to leave the hospital to open his own clinic. He could then easily contact his "followers" and "friends" to invite them to go to him instead. This would be classified as a breach of information as the customer database belongs to RBWH and not the doctor.

  2. Reputation Risks - These days, social media accounts are all inter-connected with each other. It also shows others where we work, where we stay, and what we like. If one is not careful while posting something on these websites, the public may assume that these individuals are posting on behalf of their organization. For example if a doctor posts "Enjoying a break from work with my cigarette" and his "Followers" know that he is working at RBWH, this could damage RBWH's reputation as a clean and healthy environment for patients.

  3. Discrimination claims - The hospital is where we can find different people from different background with different personalities. Hence, the chance of discrimination claims are fairly high here. According to Dundas Lawyers, adding clients and co-workers on social media sites but not adding certain ones can be argued for as discrimination. So if a doctor "follows" someone on Twitter but does not "follow" another, or if they "unfollow" someone, the doctor and RBWH may be called to court for "discrimination.

Becareful when you unfollow someone! image courtesy of joyoftech.com

To prevent these risks from causing damage, an organisation can implement several safeguards by creating a Social Media Policy. These policies should clearly address the following areas:

  • Access – The policy should define who can access social media in the workplace, when they can do so, and what can they do on these sites. This is to ensure use of social media does not affect job performance and protect the organisation from unneccesary risks.

  • Management – Who is responsible for the implementation and management of social media in the organisation has to be determined. Someone should be in charge of keeping updated on what others are saying about the organisations in social media sites.

  • Privacy issues – Specify how individuals working in the organisation should protect confidential company, employer, employee and patient information. This is to ensure they do not post statements that reveal private information that can cause trouble.

  • Monitoring – Notify those in the organisation why you are monitoring their social media usage, how you are going to do it, and when will monitoring take place.

  • Violation consequences – Clearly state the consequence of violating company policies in different scenarios. This is to ensure those working in the organisation are aware and will adhere to the new social media policy.

  • Integration – The company should determine how this new policy should be intergrated with other existing policies within the organisatio
    n. This is to help employees understand how all the policies fit together.
After you've got your social media policy up, the next step would be to educate your employees to ensure they know how to engage effectively and carefully in social networking sites. Below is an example of how Sutter's Health kept their employees aware of their new social media policy.

Sutter Health's Social Media Policy Overview

Well that's all for this week. Hopefully what I've discussed here helped you understand the legal risks of social media and social media policies better. Stay tuned, as I'll be blogging about Enterprise 2.0 adoption. See ya!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Truth About Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is all about helping employees, customers and suppliers collaborate, share, and organize information with the use of Web 2.0 technologies. This new shift in paradigm works by using more flexible and collaborative tools to extend knowledge to a certain crowd on the Internet.

If you are still wondering why an organization would implement Enterprise 2.0, the simplest answer would be because up till today, most organizations has reaped many benefits from this. A few of the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 are:
  • Improved company reputation
  • Increased productivity
  • More effective learning and development
  • Easier access to expertise and organisational capabilities

On the other hand, the use of Enterprise 2.0 by organizations has its risks too. Though the risks are minimal and has a low chance of actually happening, this still may turn organizations away from the idea of implementing Enterprise 2.0. Some of these risks are:
  • Information loss
  • Negative external comments
  • Information unreliable or incorrectly used
  • Reduced staff productivity

From the feedback I've received so far, many of you like it when I include examples that we all can relate to. So to better illustrate the benefits and risks, I'll be showing you how two companies which both uses Facebook as their Enterprise 2.0 tool can experience very different outcomes.

To improve their company's reputation and sales ClearlyContacts, an Australian optical retailer, came up with a promotion giving out a free pair of glasses. By using Facebook as their Enterprise 2.0 advertiser, those who wish to claim the offer would have to "share" the post. Their friends would then be able to see on their newsfeed that they have redeemed the offer. With everyone on Facebook having at least 100 friends, this form of advertisement definitely helps build an organization's reputation.

Upon accepting the offer, one is asked to post the offer to their timeline

The offer appears for all to see from their Newsfeed

Now we all know that almost all airlines already has their Facebook page set up. Apart from the other benefits mentioned, I believe their main goal is to build an online presence and maintain a good reputation. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword and when you allow people to say sweet words about your organization, you should very well be prepared to be publicly critized or defamed too.

During the winter holidays, a friend of mine had a bad experience travelling with a particular budget airline. Even after lodging an official complaint, my friend did not hear from them for almost a month. Just so they do not bring me to court for defamation, I've decided to leave their name out of this post.

Left with no choice, this friend then went to their Facebook page and wrote a super long post on their Timeline. And on that same day, someone from the airline actually attended to the issue. With their company's reputation at stake, I suppose they had no choice to rectify the problem.

My friend's post. The full post contains a staggering 987 words!

I'm pretty sure this organization along with all others that has implements Enterprise 2.0 knew that there was a possibility of this happening. But what made them still go ahead with Enterprise 2.0? Well the answer is obvious, though there are certain risks invovled, the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 far outweighs the risks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Secrets to Organisational Success

Another week has passed and now it’s time for me to write another entry here. Today, I’ll be giving my two cents worth on organisational web2.0 strategies. Let the writing begin!

So lately I’ve noticed more organisations and businesses using Web 2.0 to achieve their goals. Almost every company is now interacting with their customers through blogs, social media, and even custom apps.

A good example of companies using social media would be the local cafĂ©, Campos Coffee. Recently, they posted their team’s trip details to coffee farms on Facebook. This provides their coffee-loving customers to with inside scoop of what’s going on and also keeps them excited on the upcoming coffee beans that would be soon available in stores.

Campos Coffee's post on Facebook

Besides that, Australia’s iconic fast food chain, Hungry Jack’s has also developed a custom app which awards their customers with discounts upon check-in at Hungry Jack’s with their Facebook account. A post would then appear on their customer’s Facebook wall telling all their friends about their visit to Hungry Jacks.

Hungry Jack's iPhone App

Another secret for organizational success through Web2.0 is through customer involvement and crowd-sourcing. Further strategies of this was discussed in the book “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything”, where the authors introduced a new business model that stresses on Peering, Being Open, Sharing, and Acting Global.

To illustrate, I'll use two examples of companies we all love. A few months back, the famous ice cream brand, Ben and Jerry's, held a competition to look for new models for sustainable business which will help make a difference in communities. They exercised peering (collaborating with individuals and other corporate partners) and came up with great business models to make this campaign a success. They were also being open by acknowledging that others outside of the organization can assist them in reaching the community and outsourcing these jobs. The contest is now in its final stages with the top 15 being chosen.

Ben and Jerry's - Join Our Core

Apart from that, world-renowned soup company, Campbell, invited the public to make a video advertisement for them last year. The company had no problem sharing their music track with the public which must be included in the contestant's video entry. Campbell has also acted global by opening the competition to anyone. This attracted a wide variety of creative entries from people all over the word. The high level of customer involvement caused this campaign to be a huge success.

Campbell's Ad Competition

Considering that now almost everyone is doing it, those who choose not to use these Web 2.0 tools to engage their customers would be planning for their own doom and soon be left eating their competitors dust.

Well that's all for this week. Hopefully what I've discussed here would be able to give you some insights on organisational Web 2.0 strategies. As usual, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. See ya!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What Everyone Should Know About Blogging

Those who know me long enough would know I used to blog daily about my life. But this time round, I've decided to create a new blog. Apart from fulfilling my unit requirements, I did this because I want to start writing posts which are more meaningful and informational, that can help many others, especially in the area of IT. Through this blog, I also hope to build a reputation in the blogosphere as an Enterprise 2.0 consultant.

Today, I've decided to dedicate this post to budding bloggers who are interested to build their web presence. So here's a few tips to help make your blog a success:

1. Know your stuff
This is especially important if you want to blog in any specific field. Make sure you know what you are writing because the last thing anyone would want to read is a blog post that is inaccurate and unreliable. If you are writing a food blog, your readers should be able to follow your recipe and make a decent tasting cake! Besides that, having the ability to talk about the latest topics and go into in-depth discussions would definitely prove your credibility an expert in the field.

2. Present your information well
Presentation and first impression counts. This is one of the best blogging strategies one can apply that has been proven to be true. With so many other blogs popping out in the Internet, readers would often spend the first few seconds scrolling around the website. And if they decide that your blog is messy, hard to read and accompanied by a bad design, they would not hestitate to click away from your blog. Adding hyperlinks, bullet points, or images should also be used at the right instance to help present your information.

3. Advertise your blog
To help boost readership, one can use various social media like Facebook and Twitter to advertise their blog. Posting on these social media sites whenever your blog has a new post would certainly help keep your readers up to date with you. This is also done by successful blogs such as The Food Blog and TMZ. Besides social media websites, bloggers can also post their blog links in blog aggregators such as Reddit and Innit to help get the word out better. In such websites, users can either vote your link up or down, depending on whether they liked your post. Either way, your link would be there for all to be seen which means more possibilities of readers turning up at your blog!

4. Learning from others
Last but not least, we can also learn from other blogs. It always helps to visit other websites to analyse what they did right and what could have been avoided. By doing this, we can avoid repeating their mistaked without going through their failures. Besides that, we can also learn what readers love about those blogs and apply those things to our blog too.

Here's a few successful blogs where you can learn from:

Engadget - Their posts always contain up-to-date technology news and covers many events
PerezHilton - He provides the latest celebrity gossips and never fails to tweet about them
Emerils.com - Blogs about food which has readers coming back at least once every week

Well that marks the end of this weeks post and I hope you learned something from this. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Also, don't forget to drop by again next week to read my next post. Bye! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Beginning

Well I've been blogging about the most random stuff in life for about 3 years. This time, I'm starting this blog to voice my opinion regarding different trends or whatever that's related to IT. Do come back in a few days to read my upcoming post.