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To tweet or not to tweet while at work
Published on Thursday, 04 Aug 2011
Illustration: Bay Leung

The use of social media during office hours has given rise to new problems. Many companies worry about the social networking sites' possible effects on employee productivity, brand image, team relations, and privacy issues - to name a few. Some firms have even blocked access to popular social media sites. If your company has a social media policy, you're required to follow it. If your office is laidback, then it's your responsibility to be professional. If in doubt, adhere to the following suggestions.  

Timing Use social networking sites during breaks as a way to increase your productivity, rather than to procrastinate. One of employers' biggest concerns is that people check multiple inboxes too frequently throughout the day, constantly interrupting their work. Limit your use of personal accounts to break times. 

Beware When befriending colleagues on Facebook or Twitter, be sure that nothing you say could be construed as offensive or, worse, as sexual harassment. What you post online can have serious consequences. If in doubt, follow this rule: don't post anything you wouldn't want your boss to see. 

Friends and enemies Only mention the company you work for in blog posts or tweets with prior approval - and only in a positive manner. Your boss may not appreciate hearing how much you hate your job via daily status updates. If you partake in social media for work purposes, consider compartmentalising your "friends". This should avoid any confusion, ensuring that business contacts don't receive the wrong messages and are not privy to personal details.

Matthew Hill, managing director, Ambition

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