Back here in Australia the Commonwealth Government has released a major report called Government 2.0 (download PDF) which calls for a radical shake up of the way the public sector communicates and uses information.
While the Government is yet to respond to the Government 2.0 report, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) have just issued new social media policies for staff.
Under the DIAC policy all online communication on behalf of the department must be authorised. The new policy “emphasises the importance of maintaining operational and personal security online, irrespective of whether staff are using the tools in their professional or personal capacities.”
By contrast, the DoFD policy allows employees to talk online about “factual, unclassified and uncontroversial matters” related to the Department, but communications about sensitive or political information must be authorised.
In your workplace
Over the last year, a growing number of members have approached the union looking for advice on how to negotiate the murky waters where their online and work worlds collide.
One case involved a manager signing up as a friend on a member’s Facebook page so they could monitor her after-hours activities. Another concerned a supervisor who monitored Facebook and Twitter posts of staff whenever they were on sick leave.
In cases like these CPSU delegates and organisers can and do intervene to ensure peoples' rights are respected. However, there are a few steps you can take yourself to head off any potential problems.
Always be aware of your agency's guidelines for use of email and the internet and stick to them
Always check your privacy settings so only the people you want can access information about you and your personal
Always remember social networking is an activity for out-of-office hours
Never post anything you wouldn’t want your manager, colleagues or family members to know about - if you really want to keep your private life private, de-friend anyone from work
Have your say
Does your employer have a policy on social media networks and are people aware of it?
Do you have any concerns about being asked to use social media tools as part of your job?
Do you think there would be any benefits of using social media networks for work?