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Corporate Monitoring Of Social Media Set To Increase

Employees Willing To Trade Privacy For Job Security

The distinction between our physical and online lives has been steadily breaking down over the last few years. Most people are aware by this point that how they present themselves on social media is just as important as how they decide to present themselves when they step out the door in the morning, and we have also become remarkably adept at swiftly forming a judgement of people based on a glance at their online profile.

This kind of attitude is evident in the latest findings from a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which found that 31% of employees would be happy for companies to have access to personal data such as social media profiles – a figure which rises to 36% among Generation Y.

PwC predicts that companies’ monitoring of employees’ behaviour online will see a marked increase by 2022 as the generation which grew up online becomes the majority of the workforce.

It is accepted that job candidates will have their public Facebook or Twitter profiles scrutinised by potential employers, checking for any obvious signs that the prospective employee may not be a viable option.

This new level of investigation would go beyond this, however. Attitudes to social media monitoring would have more in common with advertisers’ study of profiles, geared towards collecting and organising data so as to be better able to track things like performance and retention. By graphing aspects of employees’ behaviour on social media companies can better anticipate things like sick leave and holidays so as to increase corporate efficiency, a practice which bears a greater resemblance to the modern trend towards ‘big data’ rather than operating on an individual basis.

Important to note when looking at the these figures is the idea that employees would be trading off a degree of social media privacy in exchange for increased job security – the concept that a company would be more likely to keep someone on if they could guarantee a greater level of surety around anticipated participation and performance.

The ‘always on’ aspect of mobile digital media has made the modern workplace a far more flexible and amorphous concept, with time spent sitting at a desk no longer being a reliable metric for job performance. 64% of Generation Y workers say that they are prepared to be always available and contactable by their employers if it means greater job security.

The social media aspect of employment is already well entrenched. Many employment contracts include a clause which prohibits employees from posting negative comments about the company online, and examples of people being called out and even fired for their behaviour on social media are rife.

Many, however, believe that this sets a dangerous precedent for company intrusion into individuals’ personal lives, reminiscent of Henry Ford’s rules for his workers which included home visits to ensure that they were living the ‘American way.’ Fear of unemployment is particularly high among those who came of age during the Great Recession, and steady employment can be a tempting offer – tempting enough to sacrifice one’s privacy for, even.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Corporate Monitoring Of Social Media Set To Increase Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, August 18, 2014 Rating: 5
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