David Hopkins

Policies for Staff use of Social Media and Social Networks

Does your employer / Institution have a policy for the accepted use, by staff, for how they can use Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube, WordPress, etc)? Is it limited to how you can use it for work, or in work, or does it cover your usage outside of work and how you talk/post about what you do at work? Are you allowed to use images/logo of your employer/Institution in your work?

Here a are a few I found;

  • DePaul UniversitySocial Media Guidelines: Social Media Working Group. There are some good resources here, especially interesting to me is the section on ‘personal site guidelines’ that outlines what an employee can do in their personal space, but based on work at the Institution.
  • SAP – Social Media Guidelines 2009. Again, some great resources, and well worded reasoning, on what and staff members can do on networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc in a professional manner about their work, but not linked or attributed officially to their employer.
  • Colorado State University[Draft] Social Media Policy.This covers all official accounts on Social Networks that represent CSU rather than covering staff use of Social media for personal reasons based on what they work on.
  • Law Schools on NingSocial Media Best Practices for Law Schools. This Ning site has a good draft/example policy for Law Schools to use as a starting point as well as a link to The Legal Watercooler Blog post by Heather Morse-Milligan on whether you actually need a policy to cover social media use or not? Heather’s post is actually very good in that it outlines 5 reasons why you don’t need a policy to govern your staff and their use of Social Media and Social Networks.
  • Southeast Missouri State UniversitySocial Media Information. Why is it only US University’s that are open about their policies? Anyway, this really only covers Twitter, Facebook and Blogs for departmental uses.
  • Washington State UniversitySocial Networking Guidelines. A list of official Twitter and Facebook accounts and pages, but the link to the ‘Reference, Social Media & Web Tools’ page was unfortunately broken at the time I looked (June 9th, 2010).

In the corporate world it seems they are quicker to sort this out. The Online Database of Social Media Policies from large multi-national companies (including the BBC, Reuters, Microsoft, and Kodak, to name a few) has some very good (and some bad) examples. Check them out.

This list, produced by Michael Willits, is also a good place to start. He has broken the list into different categories based on the type of organisation. Again, take a look.

One thing I have found during my search for examples is that, as we all know, the world of  Social Media and Social Networks are constantly changing, so any ‘policy’ needs constant attention and updates and, in actual fact, should be thought of as a working document rather than a set-in-stone policy.

TwitterAbout the same time as writing this (I started it back in April 2010) Alan Cann (@AJCann) was asking for examples and links on Twitter. If you have any to share please post them as a comment below and I’ll alert Alan so we can share and share alike!

Post Updates:

A much larger list of these, and more, is available here thanks to David Fleet: 57 Social Media Policy Examples and Resources

  • http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.org.uk/mashe Martin Hawksey

    Along similar vein to Online Database of Social Policies – The Social Media Toolkit have a similar list: http://socialmediatoolkit.wikispaces.com/Policies+and+Guidelines

  • Markef

    “as we all know, the world of Social Media and Social Networks are constantly changing, so any ‘policy’ needs constant attention and updates and, in actual fact, should be thought of as a working document rather than a set-in-stone policy.”

    You know, what they could really use is a wiki

    • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk David Hopkins

      Hmm, wiki … good idea (smirk)!

  • Pingback: Treating us like grown-ups – the good the bad and the ugly of social media policies for staff | Genetics News()

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  • http://twitter.com/michaelwillits Michael Willits

    Hi, just wanted to pop in and thank you for including in your post the inventory I put together. Much appreciated, and I hope it’s been helpful to you and your readers. I’ll check out the other sites you found as well. I like the suggestion that policies should instead be considered working documents and that they require constant attention.