Facebook: The New Water Cooler?

For the world of Aviculture, social media and the internet in general has been a Godsend. There is more good information out there than ever before. As I have said before, the “Top Down” slide of information has ceased to be the only channel of information and more and more people are entering the fray. They are getting information: both the good and the bad. There has been something else afoot and it really doesn’t have much to do with aviculture, but he world  and the workplace in general. Employers are cracking down on the use of Social Media. Many large firms have taken to punishing and even terminating employees for the use of social media…that is if it shows the Employer in a negative light.

The National Labor Relations Board just released a ruling about this. According to an article on CNN Money:  “It turns out that the National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, which protects workers from suffering reprisals for trying to organize a union, can also apply to people who are just venting on Facebook.”  Well! Seems as though Big Business has joined the Social Media mosh pit and has discovered that it bites as well as promotes.

And this has what to do with Aviculture?


(Wikipedia on Aviculture: “The practice of keeping and breeding birds and the culture that forms around it. Aviculture is generally focused on not only the raising and breeding of birds,but also on preserving avian habitat, and public awareness campaigns.”)

Quite a bit actually.  At least I think so. Along with the advantages the internet has provided many families with flocks, it has its pitfalls as well. Information, when it is good solid stuff, has made it’s way to the mainstream. It has affected where we get information, what we do with our spare time, even how we shop and what we purchase. Security is of course an issue. And until certain social media outlets can get s Snopes website going regarding rumors, well, we’ll all just have to  put up with it. And of course you have that fabulous Beauty Queen: “Mis-Intepretation.”


Thank you, “Raving Queen!”

We are no longer limited to the toy offerings and food choices at the local big box pet store. We are no longer limited to the books available that have been published. We can now reach out to the people actually working in the field and even advancing it.

It’s also a level playing field. Nobody owns the internet so you can pretty much post whatever you want on it. But that of course will bite you in the ass if you have really good content and people want to steal your stuff. Trust me, it’s happened to me and it’s blows my mind when I see my stuff being hi-jacked and carted off somewhere when people think I’m not looking.

But when you want to stop this, you end up with “The Streisand Effect.” The Streisand Effect comes from a situation that popped up in 2003. Seems that images of Barbra’s residence were released. Miss Thing didn’t want her house and all of its goodies out for just anyone to see, so she attempted to suppress it, which of course had the opposite effect. Now, images of her house on the Malibu Coast are out there for anyone to see. I must say, she has excellent taste. Eventually Babs decided to fight fire with fire and published a book. Might as well make a buck:


The “Anti-Hoarders” Bible

Things can get pretty nasty out there. And for the most part, the heavy duty stuff seems to come from people who don’t work for major corporations with a social media policy. And then there are those of us who do work for the companies that have those policies in place.

In other words, if you work for a giant, you have to watch what you say, even if you say nothing about the giant, because what you do, even when you are not working, reflects on them. My, that’s rather “Big Brother” of them.


If social media chat groups, Facebook Pages, and Forums can have this sort of thing going on about birds, no wonder major corporations with their cutbacks, layoffs, retirement benefits slashing, executive bonuses, and price hikes, all in the name of profit are concerned about the power of social media. The corporation I work for has a pretty vague policy. In fact it’s so vague, I’m not sure it would be able to defend itself in court against a strong cup of coffee. This is part of it:

We recognize the importance of social media. To the extent an individual chooses to  engage in social media activities, it is important for everyone to remember that what is said or done in various social media channels (websites, blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networks, etc.) may reflect directly on the individual’s character, reputation and integrity as well as that of an individual’s friends, associates and colleagues.

“Social media activities” may occur in a wide variety of contexts, including websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and MySpace. Other online venues for social media activities include blogs, online discussion forums or traditional media websites that permit visitors to interact by posting comments. Such online venues may be dedicated to particular interests, e.g. travel, alumni organizations or professional organizations.

This policy applies to all types of social media activity, including:

(a) activity that uses Company computers, mobile devices, or other equipment or technology;
(b) activity that uses non-Company technology when linked to the Company’s systems; and
(c) activity that is engaged in on or off duty which is subject to the Company’s Rules of Conduct and other Company policies and guidelines (referenced below).

Prior to posting anything online, remember you are personally responsible for the content you post or publish in any form of user-generated media. To the extent any of your personal or business related postings refer to, relate to, implicate or reflect on the corporation or any other company, you will be held responsible for complying with any rules, policies and procedures that may relate to your post.

Looks to me like they bought it in the “Legal Forms” aisle at Office Max. It’s pretty vague. And to bring up the fact that I am “Personally Responsible” for anything I post? Really? I never knew that! Wow!

Yet, at the same time, I have noticed that people with public forums: Blogs, Facebook pages, or other information disseminating accounts and work for a company with a social media policy have a tendency to tone it down. And if they don’t, where they are employed isn’t posted anywhere in there various profiles. I know I got rid of stating who I flew for ages ago on any outlet I’m on. It doesn’t make me more reckless. It just makes me feel as though I can’t be tied to “Big Brother.”

But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t watching me.