We're social media hippies who live in Mamby-Pamby Land. I can dig that.

"No, we recommend that managers have no relationship with their direct reports outside of work -- don't go to lunch with them, don't have a beer with them after work, and definitely don't offer solutions to their personal problems -- and that they should keep their personal business to themselves and offline. Fraternizing and social media are dangerous and exposes our firm to great risk."

Those were words I heard recently from an HR executive at small company of about 500 employees.

Wow, I thought. That's just one big hot ball of fun.

Those of us who have big "voices" in the human resource space and evangelize the internal and external value of social media (and being human) tend to forget that the rest of our world still has a lot of catching up to do.

We go to conference tweet-ups and drink from techno-glo mamby-pamby glasses and talk tweet about how cool social media is for the HR and recruiting and marketing and how we can't wait to blog about it all.

Don't get me wrong. I dig it all. But, for example, there are still less than 300K folks in the LinkedIn HR group, with only a small percentage actively participating at any given time.

Now that seems like a big number compared to other online communities, but don't forget there are millions of business in the U.S. alone, many of which still feel the way the HR exec above does.

Employers do need to be careful how they use social media in hiring practices, though. It is an appropriate approach but it needs to be used appropriately. EmployeeScreenIQ's president Jason Morris gave a presentation at this year's SHRM that caught some flack from us social media hippies because he focused on companies needing to be very careful when using social media as recruitment and selection tool because of the EEOC regulations.

Litigation happens. Keep it real.

But don't avoid it all together.

According to a recent CFO.com article titled The Cost of Social Media Phobia:

The CIO practice at Forrester Research recently surveyed 303 information-technology staffers who use social media in the course of servicing their organizations:

Dang that marketing conundrum. Hey, the value is there, I'm telling you.

Also in Forrester's survey:

You don't need to overthink your social media endeavors, but don't underestimate the risk and the value either.

Remember when businesses thought e-mail and the World Wide Web were sinkholes?

"It is the nature of man as he grows older to protest against change, particularly change for the better." ~John Steinbeck

We're social media hippies who live in Mamby-Pamby Land. I can dig that.

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now join HRmarketer on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!)

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