What’s in your Social Media Policy?

I’m working with a client at the moment helping them think through what their Social Media policy needs to looks like, so it was quite fortuitous that @sherrilynne tweeted about a great post on Mashable entitles 10 Must-Haves for your Social Media Policy. In it, Sharlyn Lauby lists 10 factors that you need to think about and try to include in your policy. Here’s a brief summary:

  • Introduce the purpose of Social Media
  • Be responsible for what you write
  • Be authentic
  • Consider your audience
  • Exercise good judgement
  • Understand the concept of community
  • Respect copyright and fair use
  • Remember to protect confidentiality and proprietary information
  • Bring value
  • Productivity matters

Many of these seem to be drawn from a number of existing publicly available social media policies, particularly the one that IBM have published, but it’s more than just that. The last point on productivity for example, does ring true with a number of conversations we’re having at the moment.

The big issue isn’t just the perception that people will play games online, read news, chat with friends to the detriment of their job. That choice is already there (newspapers, chatting on the phone etc). However, introducing a new channel, especially to staff who aren’t normally public facing, can mean a shift in direction in what they are doing, sometimes at the cost of the value that are currently producing to the organisation. This could also cause additional stress on staff, particularly with mobile computing and Internet-everywhere thanks to high speed satellite internet. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s a valuable shift both to the organisation and to the individual; but if it’s done without concern about what the employee is currently doing, gaps could appear in processes and the productivity continuum that could negatively impact the organisation; and this could be a worry.

Anyway, enough about me; if you want to read more about the points above check out the article on Mashable.

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