The internet enables you to express yourself in many ways- through your mails, your blog, in social networks and the like. Yet, do remember that you could be held accountable for anything that you say in your writings. There have been cases where emails sent by employees complaining about their work and their organizations to others outside their organization have got them into trouble. Misuse of email could lead to people losing jobs.

Here’s an article by J. Lynn giving examples of inappropriate use of the company email system. No CEO would like to think that what goes on in his organization is publicized all over the world- liable to be read by almost anybody and everybody.

Recently, I read that Virgin Atlantic which has the charismatic Sir Richard Branson as its Founder & Chairman  sacked 13 cabin crew for unsavory comments made by them in Facebook about the company.  The management of Virgin Atlantic claimed that the cabin crew had indulged in behavior that was “totally inappropriate” and ” brought the company into disrepute”. The crew members seem to have made adverse comments about their schedules and their passengers- who are of course, the paying public which gives the airline their revenue.

Facebook claims to have 110 million users worldwide- it is not suggested that all would have seen the remarks of the cabin crew but even if a small number did, these things tend to spread and it could result in a great deal of negative publicity for Virgin Atlantic.

In short, watch what you write and say. Many young people- particularly those who are fresh in their jobs- may have tastes and expectations about internet usage in company time which may not be realistic. Make it a point to guide them. It would be sad to lose valuable potential and talent because a young person said/wrote something he didn’t realize he shouldn’t have done.

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This is Post No: 334 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.