Social Enterprise

New etiquette rules with Twitter?

With many discussions about the various impact that social networking services have on an organization and individual, IT pro Rick Vanover raises some questions on basic protocol.

I am a selective fan of social networking. Primarily, I use Twitter to communicate many blog posts and follow various technology and news topics. After reading through many discussions about social networking on TechRepublic forums, I thought it time to raise one question about new etiquette that may be in order with Twitter in particular.

No Tweeting, please!

Is it okay to ask people not to Tweet? I think so. Just like you inform people that photographs are not permitted, an organization (or individual) should be able to request this courtesy. Enforcement is impossible, but the same goes for photographs.

Unbeknownst Twitter activity can be risky for many reasons. This can be everything from catching a slip of information or conveying misinterpreted facts or clearly false facts.

A good example of this is where a technical colleague of mine had attended a nondisclosure, in-depth technical session on next-generation servers from a major brand. Many details of the event were sent out via Twitter, likely in direct violation of the nondisclosure agreement. While most nondisclosure agreements are written to accommodate anything, social networking and Twitter are generally not spelled out specifically.

I feel it's totally in line to request someone not to tweet information for a particular subject. It still is impossible to enforce and very difficult to determine if someone ignored the request. What is your opinion on an etiquette practice such as this?

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

22 comments
boxfiddler
boxfiddler

in a very large way, here. We don't enforce the laws already on the books, so we write more. We don't enforce the rules already on the books, but we need more. Can't we get back to teaching our children manners and common sense?

Refurbished
Refurbished

You seem to be assuming that the parents of today's children learned manners and have common sense. It is true of some of them, but (as far as I can tell) not nearly all of them.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I'm well aware of the fact that too many of today's parents didn't learn manners and/or common sense. I'm a teacher, for crying out loud. However, Emily's works are still available, as are Ben's. The information isn't lacking, even if the practice of it is.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Judith Martin is far more practical. Regardless, if the parents are mannerless, isn't that the grandparents fault? Oh, wait; that would have been the '60s...

b4real
b4real

Yes, that is an assumption. Unfortunately it is tough to teach common sense to some adults. Refurbished: I used to live near Amelia, OH.

b4real
b4real

Interesting how the NFL says no Tweets during games. I agree with the decision. http://mashable.com/2009/07/09/nfl-tweeting/

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I had a player posting to Twitter during a game, or any other social web site, or focusing on anything other than the game the team is playing, he'd find himself running laps so long his Twitter page would had cobwebs across it. The owner ain't paying you to update your electronic posse.

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

should not be tweeted. If you are on twitter (and who isnt these days) and attending sessions under NDA, the request that you not write about or discuss the content of the sessions would likely apply to twitter as well. After all you do have to type or communicate the message to tweet.

b4real
b4real

While in my example, I was not the offending Tweeter - I sure loved hearing the good info.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

then flash and the memory is gone.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Why give the briefing or hold the conference at all? I thought about using available blocking technology to prevent cellular communications, but there's a little thing called 'legality'. I'm not sure if you can do that within a private conference, even with the attendees' consent.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Enforcement is impossible, but the same goes for photographs." True, but let's look at the example you cited. The 'major brand' who hosted the get-together could check the social pages of those invited. Anyone found to have violated the agreement would dropped from the company's list of attendees for future events. No, you won't catch all of them, but it's a start.

b4real
b4real

I think soon (maybe already?) we'll see companies offering software products that spider the social networking world and find this stuff.

qlue
qlue

Surely tweeting is a violation of a non-disclosure agreement anyway? But adding a no Twitter clause couldn't hurt.

mikerkba
mikerkba

Heck Twitter keeps all your tweets. Enforcement of an NDA is a easy if there is an NDA agreement or workplace policy on product/service secrets. Search the poster's history on twitter, print them out, reviewing for breach, and stapling the printout to the notice (warning, sanction, terminaton???) to the employee. Much easier than tracking/documenting more traditional violations of NDAs. mikec at resolvelaw.com

b4real
b4real

False account names, private profiles, codes/acronyms... Things like this make it difficult to fully track the violations - which is required to enforce.

bfpower
bfpower

People say a lot about immediacy, and it's true for the most part, but the most dangerous aspect of SN for proprietary information is viral spread. The information can be in 1,000 (or 10,000) people's hands within minutes, and there's no way to remove it all.

b4real
b4real

Re-Tweeting or hash tags can 'blur' the anonymous nature of a violator.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

it defeats his purpose. Those he wants to disclose information to will not know who to follow. If someone is serious about disclosing such information, would you really use a social networking site? There are much better ways to do it with less risk of detection. The main advantage of social sites is the immediacy of update and the availability via smart phone. Neither of these is a critical requirement to the intentional disclosure of proprietary information. The only case I can imagine where urgency is a factor is the possibility that the information will affect stock prices. There's no reason a discloser couldn't be on the phone talking to someone in a position to take advantage of the info. There would be a record of the call, but not the content.

b4real
b4real

But, most NDA's don't explicity point out Tweets. Further, enforcing it is nearly impossible.

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