Every year, TIME recognizes those who exemplify the very best wit and wisdom Twitter has to offer.
As Facebook and Twitter become as central to workplace conversation as the company cafeteria, federal regulators are ordering employers to scale back policies that limit what workers can say online.
Employers often seek to discourage comments that paint them in a negative light. Don’t discuss company matters publicly, a typical social media policy will say, and don’t disparage managers, co-workers or the company itself. Violations can be a firing offense.
But in a series of recent rulings and advisories, labor regulators have declared many such blanket restrictions illegal. The National Labor Relations Board says workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on Facebook.
In addition to ordering the reinstatement of various workers fired for their posts on social networks, the agency has pushed companies nationwide, including giants like General Motors, Target and Costco, to rewrite their social media rules.
Read more at nytimes.com
On June 6, Larry Ellison—CEO of Oracle, one of the largest and most advanced computer technology corporations in the world—tweeted for the very first time. In doing so, he joined a club that remains surprisingly elite. Among CEOs of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, a mere 20 have Twitter accounts. Ellison, by the way, hasn’t tweeted since.
As social media spreads around the globe, one enclave has proven stubbornly resistant: the boardroom. Within the C-suite, perceptions remain that social media is at best a soft PR tool and at worst a time sink for already distracted employees. Without a push from the top, many of the biggest companies have been slow to take the social media plunge.
A new report from McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes the business case for social media a little easier to sell. According to an analysis of 4,200 companies by the business consulting giant, social technologies stand to unlock from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value. At the high end, that approaches Australia’s annual GDP. How’s that for a bottom line?
Savings comes from some unexpected places. Two-thirds of the value unlocked by social media rests in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to the report. Far from a distraction, in other words, social media proves a surprising boon to productivity.
Companies are embracing social tools—including internal networks, wikis, and real-time chat—for functions that go way beyond marketing and community building. R&D teams brainstorm products, HR vets applicants, sales fosters leads, and operations and distribution forecasts and monitors supply chains.
Behind this laundry list is a more hefty benefit. Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide. Managers can find out “which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last contributed to a project and how to get in touch with them quickly,” says New York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy. Just cutting email out of the picture in favor of social sharing translates to a productivity windfall as “more enterprise information becomes accessible and searchable, rather than locked up as ‘dark matter’ in inboxes.”
Among the most promising (and heretofore least hyped) new social technologies are tools like Yammer (recently snapped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion), which bring Facebook-like functionality into the office. Social-savvy employees post queries and comments to internal conversation threads and coworkers offer feedback, crowdsourcing solutions. Content can be shared and searched, so the same issues don’t resurface. Meanwhile, virtual groups offer a more interactive alternative than email or phones.
Interestingly, the report suggest that tools like Yammer are the tip of the iceberg. Right now, only five percent of all communications and content use in the U.S. happens on social networks, mainly in the form of content sharing and online socializing. But McKinsey analysts point out that almost any human interaction in the workplace can be “socialized”—endowed with the speed, scale, and disruptive economics of the Internet.
It seems noteworthy that the report’s conclusions have been echoed of late from the most authoritative of places: Wall Street. In the last year, the world’s largest enterprise software companies—Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and even Ellison’s own Oracle—have spent upward of $2.5 billion snatching up social media tools to add to their enterprise suites. Even Twitter-phobic CEOs may have a hard time ignoring that business case.
Via Fast Company
This advert for the Guardian’s open journalism, screened for the first time on 29 February 2012, imagines how we might cover the story of the three little pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front page headline, through a social media discussion and finally to an unexpected conclusion
Two days, two major brands’ Twitter accounts hacked. Does Twitter provide enough security and service to the brands who rely on it to communicate with millions of consumers?
Twitter began as a platform for people to send short, mass messages, and as brands began to uncover its usefulness, they, too, jumped in. Today Twitter essentially treats as equals brands with millions of followers and people with only a handful, offering one standard account type to serve both. But events over the past two weeks, including the hacking of a pair of brand accounts, Jeep and Burger King, point to the need for a distinction.
Take, for instance, security. Should Twitter have more enterprise-level security for its brand accounts, which are increasingly how marketers communicate with millions of fans? Right now, the same level of security that applies to a regular Twitter user also applies to a brand with millions of followers. Over the past two days Twitter kept silent on the issue of security, other than to tweet “a friendly reminder about password security” from the @TwitterAds account, with a link to a blog post that leads with a tip about using strong passwords.
Twitter declined to comment on the hacks, citing the privacy of individual accounts. But Gizmodo has made a speculative ID of the hacker based on the content of his tweets and posits that the Burger King account was breached by resetting a password via a compromised email account.
It’s unclear whether lax password-security practices by the brands were a factor, but it seems unlikely in light of the vigilance most big brands practice where community management is concerned. Matt Wurst, 360i’s director of digital communities, suggests between five and 10 people total normally have the password for a major marketer’s Twitter account at any given time, in his agency’s experience.
At a minimum, there have been calls for Twitter to implement two-factor authentication, which Facebook has offered since April 2011. Google and Dropbox also use that tactic to improve security for users. On Facebook, this requires a user to verify his or her identity by responding to a text in order to access a Facebook account from a new device.
Twitter has hinted that it will implement the same security provision, even posting a job listing for a software engineer to focus on product security and work on features like “multifactor authentication.” But it’s given no explicit timetable for when the rollout can be expected.
"They’ve been oddly silent about this, and I think they can’t be for long," said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “Two-step authentication is long overdue. Other companies, including their competition, have it.”
While much of the past two days’ focus has been on account security, there’s other evidence that Twitter may need to create special services and accommodations for its brand users. Take, for instance, the experience of Coca-Cola during the Super Bowl. The marketer could not tweet from its handle for almost two hours because it had exceeded the limit of 1,000 daily tweets allowed by Twitter, a measure that’s largely in place to curb spam.
Upside of hacked
The potential to be hacked is the social-media bogeyman that haunts many brands, but the week’s hacks unveiled a potential upside: an infusion of new followers that neither brand had to spend money to attract. Burger King grew its follower count from 83,000 to 110,000 inside of an hour. Tweeted the brand Monday night when it was back in the driver’s seat: “Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”
Other brands tried to horn in the act. MTV was widely derided for trying to insert itself into the fracas after the network faked a hack modeled after the other two, replacing its logo with BET’s, before tweeting that it was all a joke. And Denny’s posted a mocking tweet: “OMG we hacked ourselves because it’s the cool thing to do!”
Social-media agency M80’s president, Jeff Semones, lauded Burger King’s example and said it proves that some positive can be derived from an account hack, depending on how the aftermath is handled.
"It’s the way we respond as marketers that determines whether we earn respect or get dinged," he said.
Source: Ad Age