Social Media Policy Group  (Public)

This group explores the risk presented by unfettered postings into social networks. The risk is serious, pervasive, and increasing. Existing policies are unlikely to cover evolving situations, but even assuming existing policies are in place, enforcement... Read More
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Comments (5)

Angela Zener wrote on 18 Aug 2010 10:01 PM

Hi James.  Other elements to consider in a social media policy:

- Use of email addresses, logos, trademarks, brands

- ?Voice? of company contributions

- Disclaimers

- Stakeholder considerations

- Caution re: company proprietary information (i.e. employee information, trade secrets, etc...)

- Policy around account creation, account names, page branding etc...

One area which might be unnecessary is "violations".  Complying with company's standard and existing policies for external communication, privacy is probably sufficient.

I don't believe there are clear definitions of "violations" in social media (aside from policies which exist already).  Perhaps including "violation" may deter employees from exploring this new method of developing relationships.

Chris Boudreaux wrote on 19 Aug 2010 9:29 AM

There are three stages of maturity in social media policies:  (1) Mitigation, (2) Information and (3) Differentiation.  All of the elements that have been listed so far in this conversation focus on Mitigation.  

If you really want to help an organization create a social media policy that makes a difference, you should aim for Differentiation.

This article explains the three stages in more detail:

You might also read this article, which explains why organizations need more than one policy for social media:

You can also download a report that analysed the policies that James mentioned in his post above:

An updated version of that report is in development, and will be published in the next month.

Kristin Turnak wrote on 19 Aug 2010 9:46 AM

Thank you James.  This is a very useful source of information regarding social media policies.

Mike Mintz wrote on 26 Aug 2010 3:44 PM

Chris: thanks for the links (you do have an inside scoop being said owner of Social Media Governance!).  I know James has asked specifically for terms, but  I think it is worth talking about the overall aim of SMPs (terms are like tactics, interchangeable if the vision is there).  The number one thing about a good social media policy is brevity (think Executive summary).  Many employees will never read it, so keeping it short and sweet is one way to get more of them looking at it.  The second thing is to create a "live policy," similar to what Kevin O'Keefe says about Linkedin being a "live resume."  Rather than trying to cram in the kitchen sink into a one page document that holds everyone accountable for every possible key stroke (use 3pt font Legal says - just kidding guys), make social media policy a living thing in your organization.  Consider creating a host of resources on it like a wiki or sharepoint, encouraging discussion in private, company-only online groups, and continue to evolve the short and sweet policy.  Finally, give guidance and encourage employees to collaboratively innovate about how the company can best use these tools in accordance with the principles embodied by the company's accepted policy.  Employees, for the most part, are smarter than policies sometimes give them credit for.  While mistakes will be made (you can count on it even with a 10-page policy - perhaps to an even greater degree!), the organization as a whole can learn from setbacks as well as (if not more than) success.  

James S. Wong wrote on 1 Sep 2010 7:50 AM

You're welcome Kristin.  Thanks Angela for the excellent additions.  Thanks, Mike and Chris for the foundational discussion.  Not sure about the Differentiation stuff.  Sounds too intellectually challenging for my non-Ivy colleagues.  A "common elements" list aims to provide a framework on top of which a small law department can customize their own SMP. Most companies I've worked for only aim for a "good enough" document, and the framework should provide enough information to create a "good enough" policy.  Not all companies have the resources to create academically or organizationally aesthetic policy.

Can you give some examples of differentiation that can be part of a framework?