LAP: Think before you post!

As Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and a host of social networking sites continue to influence the way we interact with our friends and colleagues, one thing should remain the same: etiquette.

This was the advice of columnist and blogger Jessica Zafra at the Liberal Arts Program feature on 4 August. Titled “Should you always say what’s on your mind?” the lecture centered on the dos and dont’s of interacting on social networking sites and posting on personal blogs.

Ms. Zafra shared that all rules of online interaction simply boil down to responsible posting. She encouraged the audience to always think before every click, especially if it is a a negative comment, an emotional rant or an incriminating photo.

She closed her session with a short discussion of a recent Nokia study on mobile use. One of the key results was that Filipinos were among the most eager to upload, and the first to take down, personal photos and digital content.

(an excerpt from the EY Global Social Media Guidelines)

Personal use of social media

Social media sites and technologies* are commonly used by SGV/EY people to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. SGV/EY recognizes the popularity of these websites and technologies; however, we also want to remind you that as SGV/EY personnel, you represent our firm wherever you go, even online.

As you enjoy the benefits of social media, be mindful of online security and privacy risks – and the impact your postings may have on your personal reputation, as well as the reputation of SGV/Ernst & Young.

The guidelines and attachments below are intended to raise your awareness of the risks associated with social networking and provide practical tips for protecting yourself and the firm. For purposes of this section, social networking websites and technologies include Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, YouTube, wikis and blogs.

Guidelines for responsible social networking

• Be aware that certain firm policies and procedures, including the Global Code of Conduct (EYG no. DU0006), apply to your behavior both off-line and online.

• Use caution before mentioning team members’ or colleagues’ names in your online postings. (See the Global Personal Data Privacy Policy.)

• Postings online should not disclose a client’s identity, the nature of work being performed, or any other confidential client information.

• Each of us has a responsibility to protect confidential SGV/EY data, personal information of SGV/EY personnel and our clients, and client and competitor information from disclosure.

• Consider how Independence policies might apply to your online behavior. For example, careful consideration should be given before posting anything that could be seen as endorsing or promoting an audit client or its products or services. Additionally, SGV/EY professionals may not enter into prohibited business relationships with an audit client in conjunction with social networking or a personal website, such as a relationship generating revenue from click-through advertisements.

• Do not post anything online that might be considered threatening, unlawful, harassing, hateful, vulgar or otherwise offensive by the recipient, or invasive of another person’s privacy.

• Different cultures may perceive slang terms differently, sometimes objectionably, therefore, be mindful of using them in your online posting.

• Protect yourself by being selective of the personal information you post, as it could be used by others for various crimes such as robbery or identity theft.

• Do not represent yourself as someone with a certain level of authority that you do not have, or provide information you cannot confirm.

• Use your professional judgment when using social networking sites at the office and at client sites.

• Respect copyright laws.

• Be aware that what you publish online does not always have an expiration date; it can last forever.

• Make sure you read, understand and comply with the terms and conditions on social networking sites carefully as they may claim ownership of the content you post.

• Familiarize yourself with how each site’s privacy settings work. Default settings may allow a broader group of people than you intended to have access to your information.

• Use caution before opening up attachments, even from social networking “friends.”