IBM is hoping to avoid embarrassing incidents created by its staff in Second Life by publishing official guidelines governing employee behaviour in the IBM Second Life sales centre, according to reports by the Associated Press.
IBM is believed to be the first large business to issue its own rules governing employee behaviour as Second Life increasingly becomes a platform for doing business, the AP said.
Other firms are also using Second Life as a marketing tool. Diageo, owners of brands such as Johnny Walker and Smirnoff, has set up virtual bars in the networking site.
The IBM rules are set to tell employees not to discriminate or harass on the site, and not to share intellectual property with people who are not supposed to see it. 'Avatars', the images that represent Second Life users online, should also have an appropriate appearance for doing business, the guidelines suggest.
"Building a reputation of trust within a virtual world represents a commitment to be truthful and accountable with fellow digital citizens," IBM states in the guidelines quoted by AP. "Dramatically altering, splitting or abandoning your digital persona may be a violation of that trust. ... In the case of a digital persona used for IBM business purposes, it may violate your obligations to IBM."
IBM has not issued a press release about the guidelines, and it is unclear whether employees who violate them could be disciplined.
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