Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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Twitter, Facebook … and your right to post as you see fit

The once-bright line between public and private speech gets fuzzier every day—and in the federal workplace, GSA employees are walking point for the rest of us.

Last July, GSA management launched new rules on employee use of social media. Since then, employees who are clearly GSA staff  have been warned: You must “ensure your profile and related content (even if it is of a personal and not an official nature) is consistent with how you wish to present yourself as a GSA professional.”

The National Federation of Federal Employees and the agency are again in negotiations over the union’s push to ease the rule. The union’s chief negotiator, Charles Paidock, frames the government’s attempt to control off-hours employee use of social media as a misbegotten power play—an unjustified extension of management’s traditional concerns over employees who act as unauthorized sources to newspaper journalists.

And although Paidock said he was “hopeful” about reaching some compromise, he added, “I don’t know what [GSA] can give me that would get me to give away the right to free speech.”

What do you think? Is the GSA rule on social media too stringent? Should the agency back away from regulating what employees post in their free time to widely viewed sites? Or do you think the rules are reasonable?

Posted by Nathan Abse on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM


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