Who takes responsibility for online or digital communications?

I was reading this article last week – Death of the Web Team – and it got me thinking about who does actually takes responsibility for online or digital communications in your Institution?

One of my previous posts was on the availability or presence of a Policy within your Institution on staff using Social Media and Social Networks (for professional or work-related personal reasons), so this post kind of carries on from that, in a round about way.

With previous employers it’s been quite easy to answer this, it would have been me (webmaster for a motorcycle dealership, freelance Internet consultant, web designer for several local companies, etc). All these places were either small businesses or me working on  my own … and I liked it like that. Small offices and small businesses meant that any question was easily asked, by calling across the desk and waiting for the answer. Any decision about anything (including pay, conditions, expenses, benefits, work, clients, business direction, etc) were discussed openly among the team and we all felt included. Sweet.

But in a large company, like a modern University, it might not be so clear cut. Yes, there is a Marketing department, but are they the ones who take ownership of the various ‘official’ Social Media accounts;  Facebook or Twitter or YouTube? I don’t know.

But what of the Schools within the larger Institution? Are we/they allowed to have their own accounts in these networks? Well, some do, and some are very successfully used – the Media School (obviously) use the different Social Media channels very effectively, I believe, both internal and externally/publicly facing elements.

But what about right down at the programme level, in a framework, within a School? Can we effectively use Social Media? Well, yes we can, obviously (here I am for a start) but the question is not “can we (technically)?” it’s “can we (pretty please)?”.

The question of “can we (technically)” is a resounding ‘Yes’. I/we can, as the whole ethos of Social Media is it’s available to everyone and, with some time and effort, everyone can learn what it is and how to use it. But what about using it to brand / advertise / inform / learn / etc about your programme or your reading / research? Yes, I can do it, but where do I fit in the whole Institution’s “responsibility” matrix for the ownership of that kind of information, and how do I/they know whether the message being broadcast meets the required standards set by the policy makers, and not overstepping the boundary?

While I may be slightly confused by all this, I’m sure (hope) there are many who aren’t, and know exactly how this all works, for them. If you’re one of them please let us all know where your boundaries are, and how you work within them. If you have implemented such a responsibility matrix, and would like to help the rest of us to work our own out, please et us al know how you did it, how long did it take, and what hurdles did you encounter (and overcome)

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