The main role of employment law with respect to these developments is to outline the scope of the employer's interest in the social media activities of employees.The basic analytical framework requires a balancing of two principal interests: the employee's expectation of privacy and the employer's legitimate interest in monitoring, regulating and reacting to employee conduct.
While the analysis requires a balancing exercise, the two interests are not necessarily of equal weight.
The employer's interest will often be a more dominant consideration, especially with respect to activities that occur inside the workplace given the historical "master and servant" context of the employment relationship and the employer's attendant authority and control.
A "blog" (a contraction of the term "web log") is also considered as a type of social networking.
Blogs are websites, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events or other material such as graphics or video.
This information may be shared among a network of connections and may be made available to the general public.
Well known examples these sites include Facebook and My Space.
Using some basic questions relating to an employer's interest in the activities of an employee, an employer can more easily determine whether it has a right to regulate the activity of the employee.
It is evident that these new forms of interaction via social media do not call for the development of new legal theories or principles.
The more recent phenomenon of Twitter can be thought of as a 'micro-blog', as entries are limited to 140 characters.