I learned of our hospital’s plans to block employee access to Facebook rather casually, during a meeting with our department leader. I showed her an ad we were running that had the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube’s logos at the bottom, and she says, “Should we be promoting these, since we’re going to be shutting down access in the hospital?”
She showed me a colorful bar graph that our IT Director brought to a recent Exec Team meeting. In one month, more than 1,200 hours of “Browse Time” on our hospital’s network was spent on Facebook. The next closest was Play.It (streaming radio/media) at 820 minutes.
So, in the absence of a social media sympathizer at the meeting, the fate of Facebook was sealed: Block it. No exceptions.
But after much scrambling and pleading, social media was granted a temporary stay so that I could argue on its behalf. I did research and pulled together packets of other hospitals’ social media policies, articles and visual aids to help make my case.
What I learned through all of this research is this simple, obvious lesson: If you don't have an explicit policy, you can't hold anyone accountable.
Some of the fault lies with our department. We aggressively pushed our social media program out to the community, but we ignored our most important audience: Employees.
We never educated our employees about our hospital’s presence on the Web. We didn't show them how they could contribute to it or take part in it.
Now, with the help of our IT department, we're creating and shaping our own policy informed by common sense. For instance, when you're taking care of patients, you shouldn't be on Farmville or Facebook. We're making social media part of our new employee orientation, and engaging our internal audience to help contribute to it...responsibly.
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