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Online vs. on the job: Companies, workers slow to address social media’s public-private crossover (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley CHARLOTTE — As Facebook and other social media sites increasingly blur the lines between public and private, some observers say far too few companies and employees are being proactive in negotiating this new landscape. Instead, many are waiting until a problem arises — for example, a manager’s authority is comprised after subordinates view personal photos and anecdotes online. Jason Keath, social media strategist and founder of Social Fresh conferences, says that while companies have always frowned on workers bringing bad publicity, what’s different now is the scale of the public. “I think most companies have never had to deal with that as much. They may have things like, if you break the law, or if you really embarrass the company in a large public way, you’re probably going to get fired,” he said, “but they never really had to educate their workforce how to deal with a large audience.”

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