Glenford Smith | The question of Facebook identities
QUESTION: I have a question for your weekly column in The Sunday Gleaner that I would like you to comment on. I am an administrator of the Facebook page for the organisation at which I am employed. I use a pseudonym. Should that be a problem? Is this a breach? Thank you in advance.
- A. K. S
CAREERS: Thank you for your question, and for reading the weekly column in the Careers section of The Gleaner. Your question was condensed because it was a bit lengthy.
Whenever one is acting as a representative of any organisation, the first thing that individual has to do is consult a senior working at the organisation or a manual which details the specific policy under question. This means refer to the person in the organisation with ultimate authority with regard to Facebook or a manual.
From your question, it is assumed that the manual does not exist.
The use of a pseudonym of itself is not a problem per se, as the customer will not know the difference. However, as administrator for the Facebook page for the organisation, why not put up your real name or someone else's? Or even a neutral one that is representative of the organisation?
It is clear that neither party is right or wrong it is an ethical dilemma. It wouldn't represent a breach. However, I would have to say the issue is not whether your pseudonym is correct or not. It is what would be in the best interest of the organisation. And that is clearly a Facebook page that reflects the organisation.
If you were to leave that organisation tomorrow, does the Facebook page moniker go with you? That is something for you to think about. This could happen with the real name or the pseudonym, which could complicate matters.
Supposing your given name was Pat Brown but you are posting as Pam Clarke. You say that other administrators who have the privilege to post on this said page will see the posting by Pam Clarke. The general public will also see the post by Pam Clarke, the organisation you work for. This is understood.
What is at question is who's the primary owner of the Facebook account, you or the organisation? If it is yours, then the organisation will need to regularise this to address the matter of your eventual leaving. If the Facebook account does not belong to you, but to the organisation, then it seems the page name needs to reflect that.
That is the first thing that you need to sort out. Get a Facebook account in the name of the organisation and a Facebook page name that reflects that name. That will give the organisation the professional image it wants. The organisation can rest in the certain knowledge that whether you are there or not its Facebook page name is the same, the name of the organisation.
This seems to be the best method of resolving this. In deciding on this, I would suggest that the person with ultimate authority in the organisation be brought into the picture. They will be able to give a more definitive view.
n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. Email firstname.lastname@example.org