Social Media Policies

Choose a social media policy to review from one of the lists of social media policies found on the Resources page.

Provide a link to the policy you selected then answer the following questions:

  • Does it demonstrate all the “Must-Haves” (see below)? If not, what’s missing?
  • What other comments do you have about the policy?

Must-haves:

  1. Introduce the purpose of social media
  2. Be responsible for what you write
  3. Be authentic
  4. Consider your audience
  5. Exercise good judgment
  6. Understand the concept of community
  7. Respect copyrights & fair use
  8. Protect confidential & proprietary info
  9. Bring Value
  10. Productivity Matters
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About cdgibsonttu

Instructor in Agricultural Communications, Ph.D., Proud Red Raider (Wreck 'Em Tech!), Dog mom to two spoiled Jack Russells, Wife, Agvocat, Believer, Texan

Posted on August 4, 2014, in Discussion Question. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I read of the Harvard policies on blogging here: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/terms-of-use/.
    This site doesn’t discuss all of the “must-haves” on the list above, it actually leaves several off. The only ones it talks about relates to confidentiality and the copyright considerations. This sites doesn’t include any resources or guidelines about creativity, what to post, or other helpful hints. I think it would be extremely helpful to include those points and tips in this resource, specifically because many students may not be familiar with blogging, and this resource would allow those students to read all helpful hints and tips for blogging in one place.

    • I also read the Harvard policies. Like Christi I believe it leaves several must-haves off or doesn’t at least address them directly. For example, in discussing the purpose of social media Harvard says they believe deeply in free speech but they don’t lead into WHY students would want to write blog posts through their site.

      I struggled the most with trying to determine who their audience is. Is it current students? Prospective students and their families? Alumni? I just thought it was interesting they stated, “Collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 is prohibited.” Are that many children under the age of 13 going to read student blogs from Harvard?! My guess is no. After checking out the actual blogs themselves, I still am not quite sure who the bloggers are targeting.

      For an institution of prestige I was kind shocked that their social media policy wasn’t all that great.

  2. I chose to look at Coca-Cola’s social media policy for their employees. It isn’t necessarily the policies they follow when posting their own direct content, but when employees may be tweeting on behalf of Coca-Cola,or just in general in response to certain comments or commenting about the business. The policy can be found here: http://assets.coca-colacompany.com/3f/33/9099818649d09dd1c638643c394b/social-media-principles-english.pdf

    Honestly, the policy pretty much covered everything in the “must haves” of the list. It didn’t mention community specifically, but it was implied in most of the policy. I liked that they offer additional training for their employees if they have questions or need help with social media. The policy included company commitments, which I think are imperative for employees to know, when posting to their own social media accounts. If they know this, they can then reflect on behalf of the country how they should post.

  3. I chose to look at the Mayo Clinic’s social media policy for their employees. You can look here to get a better understanding.
    http://sharing.mayoclinic.org/guidelines/

    I thought the plan was straight forward, to the point, and easy to understand. Majority of the must haves were covered, however, they could have been explained in more detail. I think the policy was more along the lines of user friendly than some other policies. This policy would cover 7/10 must haves leaving a few of them untouched.

  4. I chose to review NPR’s social media policy, http://socialmedia.biz/social-media-policies/npr-news-social-media-policy/. They covered all the must-haves, which didn’t surprise me, as they usually cover every point of a story. The policy is mainly intended for employees and journalists for NPR. Social media is seen as very valuable for attaining information and research. When it comes to providing info or posts, they especially emphasize credibility, privacy, and remaining neutral, so as not to appear that you agree or disagree with anyone’s beliefs, activities, And the like. They advise you to always request permission when sharing NPR info, stories and events. Overall, they seem a bit strict, which can sometimes be a good thing, considering all the trouble that one can cause through utilizing social media. They really stress the idea that no matter how you intended something to be, it can always be twisted, held against you or NPR, or cause harm.

  5. I chose to look at Government/Nonprofit Policy: Use of Social Media: http://www.inqbation.com/government-policy-on-the-use-of-social-media/. The policy discusses ‘why government and nonprofit organizations should set up social media profiles. The article points to several influential governmental entities and nonprofits that have chosen to utilize social media tools. For example, The White House, FDA, and the Peace Corps. The site also provides suggestions for what social media could do for the government, and also sites examples of how social media is being utilized. For example, Aids.gov uses Twitter and Facebook to keep people apprised.

    Because the site discusses several different agencies, it does not focus on exact policies, but it does give an overall nod to good policies. The author of the policies does introduce the purpose of social media. He encourages people to ‘listen, brand, broadcast, promote, and engage.’ Through these practices, the writer covers the importance of responsibility of the written word, authenticity, and good judgment. An exact audience is not considered, but the author does understand by concept of community. “People want to be a part of a group, part of the tribe, part of society. People are social creatures, and social media expedites and automates that human nature” (p. 1).

    The author also discusses legal implications to consider and protection of confidentiality, such as copyrights, terms of use policies, and privacy laws. To bring value, the site also encourages branding and productivity. For example, the author suggests that brands should be created quickly, appropriately, and consistently. The author encourages entities to go all-in with social media use. That’s not to say the author suggests posting every few minutes or wasting time with irrelevant posts, but the author would like those utilizing social media to do so with a purpose and point that will be beneficial to the audience.

    For an overall, general look at social media, I believe the author did touch on all of the must-haves. He gives a solid briefing on what and why social media is important. If governmental agencies and nonprofits were not already using the social media, this site would give a strong starting point.

  6. I chose look at the emerging media policy (social media) of Southwest Airlines because they are known for their corporate culture and having policies that are less rigid which is intended to empower their employees. The policy demonstrates many of the “must-haves”, but in the true spirit of Southwest Airlines, it is simple and to the point. What I found most interesting is the policy regarding employee identification which basically states that if you are talking online about the airline, then you should clearly state that you are an employee and provide a disclaimer. In my opinion, I feel they could have gone into more detail on a few items from the list because the policy seems to be very broad, and could leave something open to an individual’s interpretation.

    http://www.blogsouthwest.com/wp-content/uploads/files/socialmedia_guidelines2010_final.pdf

  7. Ford Motor Company

    http://www.hawthornemediagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/FordSocialMedia.pdf

    1. Introduce the purpose of social media

    Yes, Ford corporation gives a description of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and foursquare. There is a brief description of social media and how it applies to communication towards the public outside of this corporation.

    2. Be responsible for what you write

    Yes, there is a description of how posting comments on the internet is permanent because the memory exists on servers.

    3. Be authentic

    Yes, the information includes that employees should be courteous yet genuine in their responses and comments.

    4. Consider your audience

    There is not specific information on audiences, the policy is general in nature and includes all public perception.

    5. Exercise good judgment

    Yes, the information describes that employees should exercise good judgment in what content they represent if engaging in commenting via social media means.

    6. Understand the concept of community

    Yes, but the information briefly describes the concept of community in specifics. The details represented are for general communication rules for social media representation towards the public.

    7. Respect copyrights & fair use

    Yes, the information covers the litigation involved with presenting your own thoughts in social media about the corporation.

    8. Protect confidential & proprietary info

    Yes, once again the legality in nature of presenting your opinions and thoughts online towards social media does include litigation consequences and guidelines.

    9. Bring Value

    Yes, the information promotes that any representation of the company should be positive and informative within the guidelines set forth by the social media employee program.

    10. Productivity Matters

    Productivity is not necessarily addressed as for corporation performance; rather the content of the information provided to their employees’ strictly covers the guidelines from which employees should follow while engaging in social media information.

    Conclusion

    The social media policy presented by Ford provides good direction and information pertaining to posting their employees thoughts and opinions online. Furthermore, the policy provides information for any employee in any position within the company to address social media requirements for compliant communication.

  8. I chose to review Coca-Cola’s social media policy which was centered mostly around the idea of company employee’s responses to consumers on social media and company employee’s posts on behalf of the company. The policy is available online at:

    http://assets.coca-colacompany.com/3f/33/9099818649d09dd1c638643c394b/social-media-principles-english.pdf

    After careful evaluation it seemed to me that Coca-Cola did a sufficient job of covering the must-haves addressed in the list. The concept of community and introduction of the social media policy were the only two aspects that were not addressed specifically but were covered in a more subdued fashion. The thing I found most interesting in the social media policy was the fact that Coca-Cola addresses the permanent nature of social media posts. I think employee’s sometimes forget that all social media posts are permanent and cannot be removed from the internet even if they are deleted.

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