Category Archives: Social Media/Networking

Digital tools are helping employees mobilize the workforce

Source: Nicolás Rivero, Quartz at Work, December 13, 2020

Technology has already fundamentally changed the way that millions of people work. Now, it’s changing the way they unify to make demands of their employers.

Waning union power across industries and around the world has left workers with fewer formal structures for venting grievances. In some sectors, the rise of the gig economy and remote work means people aren’t meeting and forming relationships with co-workers like they used to. All of this has made it harder for rank-and-file employees to organize and collectively lobby their bosses for change.

But a spate of new digital tools offers a workaround, helping people to find far-flung peers, share grievances, and coordinate action.

A Manager’s Guide to Free Speech and Social Media in the Public Workplace: An Analysis of the Lower Courts’ Recent Application of Pickering

Source: Adam M. Brewer, Public Personnel Management, OnlineFirst, Published September 4, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Public organizations are experiencing a burgeoning of workplace challenges involving employee use of social media. Comments, images, or videos ranging from racist remarks, to calls to violence, simple criticism of one’s organization, to full on whistle blowing significantly challenge public organizations’ policies for addressing speech that creates discord in the workplace. With the blurring of lines between personal and professional lives, these challenges create uncertainty for public organizations regarding how to maintain the efficient operation of the workplace, deal with the social and political fallout of such instances, and manage organizational liability. This article performs content analysis on 33 federal lower court opinions involving speech/social media workplace issues. The study analyzes the manner in which the lower courts apply free speech precedent on contemporary workplace speech cases. The findings suggest that patterns emerge from the opinions providing key insights for public managers regarding how to better manage these complex issues.

Race and Networks in the Job Search Process

Source: David S. Pedulla, Devah Pager, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst, November 7, 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Racial disparities persist throughout the employment process, with African Americans experiencing significant barriers compared to whites. This article advances the understanding of racial labor market stratification by bringing new theoretical insights and original data to bear on the ways social networks shape racial disparities in employment opportunities. We develop and articulate two pathways through which networks may perpetuate racial inequality in the labor market: network access and network returns. In the first case, African American job seekers may receive fewer job leads through their social networks than white job seekers, limiting their access to employment opportunities. In the second case, black and white job seekers may utilize their social networks at similar rates, but their networks may differ in effectiveness. Our data, with detailed information about both job applications and job offers, provide the unique ability to adjudicate between these processes. We find evidence that black and white job seekers utilize their networks at similar rates, but network-based methods are less likely to lead to job offers for African Americans. We then theoretically develop and empirically test two mechanisms that may explain these differential returns: network placement and network mobilization. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for scholarship on racial stratification and social networks in the job search process.

The Elephant and the Bird: Republican Candidates’ Use of Strategy and Issue Framing in Twitter During the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries

Source: Dror Walter, Yotam Ophir, International Journal of Communication, Vol 13, 2019

From the abstract:
Studies have demonstrated an increase in the use of strategy framing in coverage of political campaigns over the years, and during campaign cycles. Despite increases in politicians’ and voters’ use of social media, very little is known about the use of framing in e-campaigns. This study examines Republican presidential candidates’ Twitter activity during the 2016 primaries (more than 22,000 tweets). We find that only two candidates, Donald Trump, and John Kasich, have followed the news media tendency to emphasize strategy over issues. Also, candidates dedicated more than a third of their Twitter activity to updating followers on events and the campaign. Using time-series analysis, we found that the use of framing was dynamic over time, with issue framing increasing around debates and strategy around voting days. This study contributes to our understanding of the use of social media as a complementary and alternative method for direct communication between candidates and their voters.

Related:
In 2016, the Top GOP Candidates Used This Twitter Strategy
Source: Bert Gambini, Futurity, October 29, 2019

Among the Republican hopefuls in the 2016 presidential primaries, the last two standing—Donald Trump and John Kasich—employed the same Twitter strategy, research finds.

Connecting the Dots: Labor and the Digital Landscape

Source: Richard Wells, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Vol. 15 no. 3, September 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article takes stock of the recent union organizing in digital media. It offers some context, beginning with a discussion of the crisis in the traditional, printbased news business that is both cause and effect of the growth of the digital news media. The article then provides a sampling of the ways in which this crisis has been diagnosed and understood, in terms of the basic economics of the business and in terms of its dire implications for the public sphere. A review of the main themes in the history of union-based struggle in the news industry, followed by considerations of the union role on the infrastructural side of the increasingly Internet-based communications industry, helps pinpoint both the challenges and the possibilities represented by the unionization of digital media workers.

Welcome to the App-Based Resistance … Used by Both Sides

Source: Molly Fosco, Ozy, November 20, 2018

….Hustle is just one of a number of startups — on both sides of the aisle — that have emerged in recent years and are leveraging technology beyond traditional social media platforms in grassroots and political organizing. As national political debate gets increasingly heated, they’re witnessing growing traction, with unprecedented usage in the just-concluded midterms. For liberals, they’re tools to resist the Trump presidency. For conservatives, they’re weapons to fight back against those progressive efforts.

Ragtag, founded in 2016, connects people who have technical skills to left-of-center campaigns and organizations that need them. The Action Network, started in 2012, is using an advanced digital toolkit to mobilize more volunteers in the progressive movement than ever before. OpnSesame and RumbleUp, both founded last year, are texting platforms similar to Hustle but are focused exclusively on conservative campaigns and causes. And i360, which started in 2009, is a Koch brothers–backed technology used by several conservative organizers that connects voter information with data from credit bureaus and previous voting records…..

Are Social Media Searches Still Risky?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Volume 35 Issue 16, August 6, 2018
(subscription required)

Gone are the days of employers casually reviewing social media to assess prospective hires. Instead, they are formalizing their social media screening practices.

That’s the conclusion of the 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study, released in late May. According to the study, 18% of employers have formalized their process of reviewing candidate social media profiles and another 17% are considering doing so in the future.

“We would never hire without seriously searching all platforms,” one study participant noted.

Five Common Employer Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Source: Sara H. Jodka, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, Summer 2018
(subscription required)

While social media based discipline is an issue for employers, there are a number of other social media related issues that employers should be aware of. In this article, five are addressed, starting with the most familiar and common offender, social media discipline. Social media has been and will continue to be an issue for employers. It has become the way people, especially Millennials, who make up a significant amount of the restaurant-industry workforce, communicate. When most employers think about social media in the workplace, they tend to think solely in terms of the high-profile social media firing cases where employers have terminated employees for posts made on social media. While social media based discipline is certainly an issue for employers, there are a number of other social media related issues that employers should be aware of. In this article, five are addressed, starting with the most familiar and common offender, social media discipline.

The Employee Right to Disconnect

Source: Paul M. Secunda, Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

From the abstract:
U.S. workers are increasingly finding it difficult to escape from work. Through their smartphones, email, and social media, work tethers them to their workstations well after the work day has ended. Whether at home or in transit, employers are asking or requiring employees to complete assignments, tasks, and projects outside of working hours. This practice has a profound detrimental impact on employee privacy and autonomy, safety and health, productivity and compensation, and rest and leisure. France and Germany have responded to this emerging workplace issue by taking different legal approaches to providing their employees a right to disconnect from the workplace. Although both the French legislative and German corporate self-regulation models have their advantages, this paper puts forth a hybrid approach using existing U.S. safety and health law under OSHA to respond to this employee disconnection problem. Initially under the general duty of clause of OSHA, and then under OSHA permanent standards and variances, this article provides a uniquely American approach to establishing an employee right to disconnect from work.