The Social Media Debate

Social media use in the workplace and in the classroom has become a very hot topic in recent years with the rise of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These social media sites have become engrained in society today, and most people do not go a full day without visiting some sort of social media. Whether it be in the workplace or the classroom, there has been much talk and controversy over what is appropriate use in regards to employees and students.

There are many ethical and legal implications that come along with media use in the workplace and the classroom. When it comes to ethical issues in the classroom, there are many things to consider. Social media tends to be a distraction for any who use it, especially in the classroom. If a student is on social media, they are not listening to the professor and the class to his or her greatest ability. Social media can hinder the overall learning experience, in other words. Because of this, many professors attempt to make strides to prevent this by putting a no cell phone or social media clause in their syllabi. Further, if these professors see a student using social media or a phone, they often say something to stop the behavior. On the other side of the spectrum, however, it can be argued that students have the right to go on social media if they please, because they have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. There are less legal implications that come along with social media use in the classroom, but there can be issues if a professor takes away a student’s cell phone or computer because of social media use. Students may be able to take legal action against something like that.

When it comes to the workplace, there are numerous ethical and legal implications of social media use in the workplace. When at work, it can be argued that social media is distracting to employees, which makes them less focused and productive at work. Many companies argue that they do not want to pay their employees for looking at their social media when they should be doing their job while at work. Others argue that it should be okay for employees to check their social media as long as they are getting done what they need to get done. When it comes to legal implications, many things can happen. Some companies may find social media use a terminable offense, and that can cause issues for both the employer and the employee.

In my opinion, I think that employees should be able to use company time on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter if it is not hindering their work. For example, employees should definitely be able to use these sites while on a break, such as lunch. Also, employees sometimes need a few minutes to take a break from their work in order to get back to their full potential as well, and social media sites can be a good way of doing this.

After reading some of the social media policies from various companies, it became clear to me that most of these policies are in place in order to give employees guidance and voice, but also making sure their expectations are understood. For example, Adidas tries to make it clear that employees can use social media, but they make it clear that it is their own responsibility to keep it appropriate and in line with their employer’s values.