Reminders of Company Social Media Policies Via the Harlem Shake

Remember when the Macarena was a big hit back in the mid-’90s? On second thought, let’s not go there.

Hasn’t the Harlem Shake had it’s 15 minutes of fame already? But alas…we need to talk about a recent situation which brings up fodder for social media conversations and how they relate to your employer.

You see, two Atlanta actors created a Harlem Shake video early last month in a Wells Fargo lobby with several of its employees. Here’s the kicker: The Associated Press reports bank officials indicated they did not approve it ahead of time. That said, employees participated in the filming on their own time.

It took about an hour to make and two actors in the clip who bank at that branch talked to the bank manager and district manager ahead of time; they were both “on board.”

Were their boss’ boss’ boss on board, too? We can only wonder. In a statement the bank indicated, ”This was something that our team members participated in on their own time. It was not approved by the company and Wells Fargo did not produce the video.”

The bank did not indicate if employees had to face any repurcussions. Keep in mind the actual name “Wells Fargo” doesn’t appear in the video but it was filmed at the bank itself.

With about 181,000 page views as of today, there’s no denying the power of social media. But at what price?

Lesson learned: Something as innocent as a fun and frivolous Harlem Shake video may not be so innocent after all. Even if a company’s name or logo weren’t exposed, it was filmed on company premises. The other side of the coin could argue the employees filmed it on their own time and it could have actually boosted camaraderie and teamwork.

Considering social media is relatively new, HR policies are new as well. There are often shades of gray if policies aren’t completely spelled out. For instance, some companies may prohibit employees from giving recommendations for former employees to their prospective employers. As such, they may also ban giving recommendations on LinkedIn.

Something that innocent may not be really but how are companies enforcing it? Again, this brings up topics of conversation for sure. If you’re going to post something, when in doubt, simply ask internally ahead of time. It’s better to be safe than sorry or out of a job.