Eeep! I have thankfully been busy, but I just realized my last post was several weeks ago. For shame, Meg!!! I figured I am way overdue on putting my two cents out there again. So here's a juicy little story that recently came out regarding a community figure and his personal Facebook posts, but there's a definite twist, which clearly illustrates the importance of having clear, defined social media policies for your organization and employees. My very own, "C'mon, Man!!!"
On Tuesday the Baton Rouge ABC news affiliate WBRZ issued a story regarding a Facebook post made by an Ascension Parish Sheriff's deputy. The deputy shared a meme, which made a statement on riots and those who protest the national anthem. In our grossly polarized political and social climate, we all see it all of the time and typically roll our eyes or chuckle or choose to engage to support or oppose it. Clearly among his followers is someone with a strongly opposed view, so much so that they were compelled to share it with the local media. And unfortunately for the deputy, he is representing the Sheriff's Office on his personal page with a uniformed profile picture and employment information listed.
In the article, the Sheriff says that the deputy will be counseled and further states, "We do not condone, nor do we tolerate Facebook postings by employees that conflict with this department’s core beliefs, nor do we condone or tolerate any postings by employees that are controversial in nature and use our departmental logos, uniforms, or any identification with APSO to disparage others."
Now you may be thinking, "Ok... story over!" Welp, here's the twist... Last year the Sheriff himself published a long statement regarding Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest on the actual Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office Facebook page. The publisher of The Rouge Collection, Gary Chambers, wrote a piece in response to the posting, which you can find here with a snip of the full posting. This happened in the fall of last year, and the greater Baton Rouge area, as we all know, had been dealing with some very impactful and divisive race-related events not to mention devastating floods. It is fair to say that emotions ran high.
I am not here to make a political statement or share my opinion on the content of the postings or the responses. I will say that I live in Ascension Parish and have a great deal of respect for law enforcement officers who risk their lives to protect me, my loved ones and my community. This is just a clear example of either not having a strong social media policy or not enforcing it. C'mon, man!!! This can be very irresponsible and get you into trouble even if you're not in a community leadership position. Your clients, potential clients, competitors, etc. may see the things you and your employees are posting, and if there is any affiliation with your business, you need to protect yourself with policies and enforce them.