Facebooking at city hall could be tough to regulate

Most of the Advocate editorial staff has worked social media into the fabric of our day, as there is no denying that it is a revolutionary and invaluable source of information and communication. Sometimes we veer off into personal-interaction territory, but in fairness, our personal time is consistently interrupted by work stuff, and Facebook and Twitter help us stay informed, inform our readers, and do our jobs, so we don’t feel bad.

At city hall, things are a little different. Taxpayers, and all. It’s too easy to make Facebooking on the job sound bad in the headlines, which is happening now, following a probe into city staffers’ Facebook use during work hours.

The Morning News (read it here if you aren’t a subscriber) story highlighted the city’s assistant water director as a “Facebook abuser”. He was found to have logged about 68 hours on the site over a three-month period. Really, that’s like an hour a day. He admitted it was a “bad habit” and that the findings and subsequent reprimand were “not one of (his) finest hours.” A few other city employees logged in the 100-200 hour range during that 3-month investigation.

City Manager Mary Suhm says Dallas will soon release an updated social media policy for employees, though one is already in place. Because the city and its various departments use Facebook to communicate with Dallas residents, I imagine it will be tough to set and enforce stringent restrictions.

I love how the Morning News article includes a graph about HardlyWork.in, where you can make your Facebook page look like a spreadsheet.


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