The Consequences of Not Understanding Online Reputations

Last week we posted about online reputations and the dangers presented to individuals and organizations alike if they fail to keep track of what they’re posting and what’s being posted about them on social media. No sooner did that post go live than did the perfect example of this far reaching and often ignored concern make headlines on all the major news outlets.

Gene Morphis was CFO of Francesca Holdings Corp. from October 2010 until last week, when he was terminated for divulging company information over his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as a personal blog.

Allow us to rephrase that: a 63 year old man was just fired from a job that paid over $1 million per year because he didn’t have a basic understanding of what was and wasn’t acceptable while posting on the internet! It sounds unbelievable, like something that would happen on a sitcom or in a novel, but it’s all true. He wasn’t new to the corporate officer game either, he was previously a CFO at David’s bridal and the Rowe Companies, so ignorance is not a valid excuse either.

Social Media Policies

According to the Wall Street Journal, only about 40% of companies have actual social media policies spelled out and expected to be followed by all of their employees. As a company, you should have one in place before you ever hire your first employee and have your legal consul advise you to make sure it’s legal and actionable in case something should happen in the future.

As an employee, make sure you know about it if your company has a policy. Ask the HR department or your company’s Chief Information Officer if possible, they would be able to tell you, and after you get a copy of the policy, read it and ask any questions you might have.

You may feel like you’re bothering a person who has better things to do, but they’ll generally be happy to help you in order to keep from having to deal with the paper work when you’re fired over something you posted.