James Madison University professor conducts social media research

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — "People are getting fired for social media use, but they're not being told by the company," said Janna Parker, a marketing professor at James Madison University.

Parker says most people aren't just online at work, sparking a phenomenon called "Social Media Convergence".

In today's world, employees must be cautious when posting anything to their personal or professional social media accounts. Parker recently conducted research about blurring the lines between work life and personal life on social media.

"We decided to investigate when the public perceived the firing to be fair. So, what types of posts would they think it was unfair somebody was fired and what types of posts would it be, 'yes, they should be fired' and what conditions," said Parker.

Parker found that the majority of the people in the study said posts with more offensive content, like racist language, prompted a reaction to fire someone. The study also researched employees awareness of the social media policy within their workplace.

"When we asked people if their companies had social media policies the majority of people either didn't know or they said no we don't, but our research found that most employers actually do have social media policies, it's just employees aren't aware of it," said Parker.

She says the best thing to do if you are unsure about posting on social media is to check with your HR department and ask them for a copy of the policies.