Resource Library

Social Media and the Workplace

Date: July 2015

“Social media,” also known as “Web 2.0,” is a broad term commonly used to refer to online applications or platforms that facilitate communication and interaction among groups of people through information sharing and collaboration via the Internet.

For individuals, social media is a means by which they can share information about themselves, their lives and their interests to a select group of people or to the public at large. This sharing can be done through a variety of social media applications, including social networking Web sites, professional networking Web sites, blogging sites[1] and/or video or photo sharing Web sites.

Social media is changing the way that people communicate. For example, as of March 2015, Facebook reported that it had approximately 1.44 billion active users across the globe, with 936 million of those users logging into Facebook on any given day.[2] When considering that many people use more than one social media application, the amount of information potentially shared is staggering.

Social media is designed to be interactive; users may permit viewers to comment upon and critique the posted content.

Social media and the workplace may expose public entities to risk. This Resource examines three such areas:

  • Employee personal use of social media.
  • Using social media and Internet searches when making hiring decisions.
  • Social media employment references.

[1] A blog is an online journal or chronicle containing reflections, commentary and information.
[2] Facebook Newsroom, Company Info, http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info (last visited July 21, 2015)