If your organization doesn’t have a social media policy, establish one right now. Corporate communications engage the outside world. There are no secrets. Boundaries are porous. The interconnections are getting denser.
Here’s a generic social media policy that covers the bases.
Social Media Policy
- Don’t do anything stupid.
- Online or off, be yourself. Be authentic, honest, open.
- You are an employee or subcontractor. Act like it. Make us proud.
- Collaborate, participate, and share your Aha’s.
- Don’t reveal confidences or company secrets.
- If something you wrote makes you uncomfortable, sleep on it before you pull the trigger.
Feel free to reword this and make it your own. Put it in your context. Have people discuss it online if you wish. Look at the links here as well. When you come back, I hope you’ll agree that these half dozen instructions pretty well sum things up. You can e-blitz the company with the new guidelines and begin the adventure of prying open the organization and pouring in learning amplifiers right away. Why wait?
Everyone in an organization needs to know the firm’s social media policy. Here’s advice from Intel’s.
- Be transparent: Please clearly and conspicuously disclose your relationship to our company, including any incentives or sponsorships. Be sure this information is readily apparent to the public and to readers of each of your posts.
- Be specific: Do not make general claims about Intel® products, but talk specifically about what you experienced.
- Be yourself: We encourage you to write in the first person and stick to your area of expertise as it relates to Intel® technology.
- Be conscientious: Keep in mind that what you write is your responsibility.
IBM has always been a pioneer in this area. They went from blue suits to clown avatars. Don’t be an idiot. You’re responsible for what you say. Direct and not in lawyer-jargon. Big Blue’s History of Social Computing Guidelines is a great read.
- To learn: As an innovation-based company, we believe in the importance of open exchange-between IBM and its clients, and among the many constituents of the emerging business and societal ecosystem—for learning. Social computing is an important arena for organizational and individual development.
- In 2003, the company made a strategic decision to embrace the blogosphere and to encourage IBMers to participate. We continue to advocate IBMers’ responsible involvement today in this rapidly growing environment of relationship, learning and collaboration.
- Be who you are. We believe in transparency and honesty. When discussing topics relevant to IBM’s products and services, you must use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for IBM. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and also be judicious in disclosing personal details.
- IBM’s business performance and other sensitive “inside information”. Some topics relating to IBM are sensitive and should never be discussed, even if you’re expressing your own opinion and using a disclaimer.
- Add value. IBM’s brand is best represented by its people and everything you publish online reflects upon it. Blogs and social networks that are hosted on IBM-owned domains should be used in a way that adds value to IBM’s business. If it helps you, your coworkers, our clients or our partners to do their jobs and solve problems; if it helps to improve knowledge or skills; if it contributes directly or indirectly to the improvement of IBM’s products, processes and policies; if it builds a sense of community; or if it helps to promote IBM’s Values, then it is adding value.
- Use your best judgment. Remember to always use good judgment and common sense in deciding what you publish. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, review the suggestions above and think about why that is.
Here’s one we emphasize in Aha!
- To contribute: IBM—as a business, as an innovator and as a corporate citizen—makes important contributions to the world, to the future of business and technology, and to public dialogue on a broad range of societal issues. Because our business activities provide transformational insight and high-value innovation for business, government, education, healthcare and nongovernmental organizations, it is important for IBM and IBMers to share with the world the exciting things we’re learning and doing.
That applies inside and out.
If you plan to write an anonymous blog out of the view of your employer, be cautious. Consider these guidelines from the Electronic Freedom Foundation. I find them paranoid, but if you’re live-blogging from HP’s board room, this level of security probably makes sense,