During yesterday’s GTEC session on the Public Sector Social Workplace, I tweeted:
At the time, this sounded like a good tactic to keep in mind when selling social media adoption in the workplace. After all, not needing training means lower costs associated with the roll-out of social tools in the org.
But then I opened up the paper (yes the print kind – gasp!) this morning to the following headline: “27% blind to online legalities – Many Canadians don’t know they’re liable for comments: Poll.”
A new survey released yesterday shows that while more Canadians are conversing online, over one-quarter of people believe they aren’t legally accountable for their online comments.
Twenty-seven per cent told a TD Insurance poll they believe they aren’t legally accountable for their comments on blogs, message boards and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
An alarming number of people are ignorant of the responsibility and legal liability, said Klaus Pohle, a professor of journalism specializing in media law at Carleton University.
So, a good reminder — at least some of us haven’t really learned how to use social media after all.
I’d say that this is due to the mental models we bring to participating online. Often we approach it the same way as if we were having a face to face conversation. To wit:
“Most people approach online commenting as though they were chatting in person, completely unaware of the risks they’re taking,” says Henry Blumenthal , Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. “A good rule of thumb when you’re posting online is to ask yourself, how would I feel if this was printed in the newspaper with my name next to it?”
But sometimes we use online mediation as a shield, thinking we can get away with being more outspoken online:
When asked if they behave the same online as they do in person, the majority of Canadians (75%) said yes, but 9% did admit to being more opinionated behind the keyboard. Younger Canadians (18 – 34) are more likely to say they are more opinionated in person than online – 25% compared to 14% of 35 – 54 year olds and 7% of 55+ year olds. Yet, they’re most likely to regret something they posted online (29% vs. 16% of 35 – 54 year olds and 5% of 55+ year olds).
I’d wager that it’s a rare person who hasn’t tweeted something they never would have said out loud to another.
Bottom line: social media is not the same as face-to-face conversation. When you comment online, your words can have real-world consequences. People will still need to be reminded of this as the org goes social.
Getting back to the question of training: while it might be true in a strict sense that people won’t necessarily need training on how to use social media (with most social software, it’s blindingly obvious where you are supposed to click or type), it’s still pretty key to educate users on the norms and risks associated with participating online.