I have been a little slow in commenting on many of the important happenings as we start the year. A month ago, there wasn’t a lot of good meaty news and now there is too much. And then there is the matter of doing real work of the kind that pays the rent.
This item caught my eye the other day in the New York Times. Seems there have been some legal challenges to using social media in the workplace or even on one’s own time to discuss the workplace. The National Labor Relations Board or NLRB got involved and enforced a New Deal era law governing free speech for employees. Nice going as far as I can see though there are some appeals pending.
The crux of the issue was whether employees kibitzing on social media about work and working conditions, even if the talk is less than complementary to the boss and the business, have a right to do so. To me this looked like an effort to both limit people’s exposure to social and to buff a company’s reputation by hindering the free flow of information.
A wise man, I think it was Marshall Lager once told me, information needs to be free. He was, of course, right. Maybe in some Soviet era organization of Fidel’s failed fiefdom that logic holds sway but not here in the good old U.S of A.
Aside from my jingoistic tirade though, social is not just a technology or method it is a movement. The free flow of information through social has toppled tyrants much bigger than a shabby boss. We’re still trying to figure out where the bumpers are on the social track and that’s a certainty but it’s nice to know that the NLRB could dust off a law from the last time we were as communally oriented and pop it into the later stages of the information age.