Morning Advantage: It’s My Job and I’ll Tweet If I Want To

Let's say you get word that a colleague is (unfairly, in your mind) ratting you out for not working hard enough. So you turn to Facebook, engaging with some coworkers about their feelings on the matter.

Then you all get fired for violating your company's social media policy.

This is one of several cases the National Labor Relations Board has considered recently, as described by New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse. For the most part, it affirms one of the key tenets of employment law that was created decades before social media became so ubiquitous: that employees have a right to discuss work conditions freely, without fear of retaliation. So how should you shape your company's social media expectations to support both your employees' rights and your company's brand? Take these two social media policies, one from Wal-Mart and the other from General Motors, that differ only slightly but are on opposite ends of the legal spectrum: Wal-Mart's prohibits "inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct," while GM states that "offensive, demeaning, abusive or inappropriate remarks are as out of place online as they are offline." The latter, the Board says, is unlawful because it's too vague. So is specificity the key, as one expert counters? Maybe. But the gray areas still seem to be in the overwhelming majority of company policies.

WE THE PROGRAMMERS

The Battle Over the Tech That Got Obama Elected (The Verge)

After much public celebration over the ragtag team of digital wizards that catapulted Obama to another term, a bit of a storm is brewing over their code. As is the wont of the open source community, there's a push to make that information available to other programmers to implement and improve upon (especially because the system was itself built using other open source models). But the administration and the Democratic National Committee is thus far keeping a tight lid on both the data and the code, raising questions about privacy, politics, and who owns what in the digital space.

SMILE AND SAY "DATA ANALYSIS"

Google's Happiness Machine (Slate)

Farhad Manjoo offers an inside look at Google's People Operations department, where HR managers use deep analytics to figure out how to make employees REALLY happy. Among the findings: base salaries matter more than bonuses, an optimal lunch-line wait time (to maximize collegial banter while minimizing annoyance) is 3-4 minutes, job candidates need only go through four interviews, and middle managers really do improve performance. Oh, and in an effort to retain more women, the company now offers five months paid maternity leave, taken whenever the new mom wants. Will the tech wars be won with satisfied talent? Google seems to think so. — Alison Beard

BONUS BITS:

The Golden Years

America's CEOs Want You to Work Until You're 70 (Businessweek)
Study Finds Tweeting, Retweeting May Help You #Lose Weight (Wired)
The Most Dangerous Word to Use at Work (Fortune)

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