Company Time: Who owns your content?
In pushing social media on campus (including an institutional blogging platform to hold personal/professional blogs), the question arises: Who owns this content?
I want to explore a few scenarios. Please post to the comments and share your own opinions on these.
1. You post to your personal blog on company time, using a company computer.
On one hand, it’s your personal blog – so it’s unlikely to be an issue because your employer probably doesn’t care about it. But if it’s related to your work and may provide value, the company might care. And the “during company time on company equipment” thing seems to lean toward your employer.
2. You tweet during work hours.
Who doesn’t do this? Do your personal tweets become the company’s property? Again, kind of a moot point given that the employer likely doesn’t care.
3. You post to a personal blog on an institutional platform, regardless of time or equipment.
This depends on the policies of the institution. Institutional blogs are likely to be the company’s property, but personal blogs using the employer’s systems seem like a grey area.
During Work Hours
This is the part that really bothers me. Every night, I do work for my employer. My work hours don’t stop at 5pm simply because the banks close – I’m on email, IM, and often do work because it needs to be done. How do you define “work hours?” What about those increasingly rare days when I work from home?
My perspective (which likely conflicts with that of my employer) is that my job isn’t defined by work hours. It’s defined by meeting the requirements of the position – with a somewhat elastic goal of 40 hours. Realistically, I spend far more than that to get the job done. My presence in the office from 8-5 doesn’t mean the job’s getting done, and my absence doesn’t mean that it’s not.
As a result, it is common for those of us in this situation to take a long lunch, exercise, or leave early. In exchange for pushing our “work hours” outside of 8-5, we expect flexibility during the 8-5 workday. So how does this affect our participation in social media? If I spend 30 minutes blogging during the day, but 30 minutes working at night – is this an even trade?
I’m curious to hear what you think. Have you ever had a “that’s our property” issue with your employer?
Note: This is hypothetical and theoretical. I don’t have any specific issue I’m dealing with at this time. Oh yeah, this post was written during work hours. * gasp *