Drafting Social Media Guidelines

We’re busy writing our next white paper about social media policies, and I’m thinking about this issue also in relationship to building our team of interns, so I drafted a quick set of Social Media Guidelines for future SocialFish employees.  These borrow liberally from Intel and Sun Microsystems‘ guidelines which, though corporate, are some of the best we’ve seen and I am sure they won’t mind us repurposing them.

I would love to hear your comments about these draft guidelines below.  The way this is worded reflects our own brand personality, of course, but the content should be appropriate for any organization. The main concern for me was that this should fit on one page (e.g. for posting on a bulletin board, if we had one, in an office, if we had one…) and be easy to learn and follow.  There’s no point in having guidelines so complicated that no-one will ever look at them.  Who ever reads those massive employee handbooks?  Even when you have to sign the piece of paper that says you did?  Social media guidelines, though, are about how you operate, work, converse on a daily basis.  They need to be simple, clear, and common sense. Clarity over control.

Let me know your thoughts on this!


SocialFish Social Media Guidelines

These are the official guidelines for social media use on behalf of SocialFish. If you’re a SocialFish employee or contractor creating or contributing to any kind of social media both on and off socialfish.org, these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of SocialFish to understand and follow these guidelines.

  • Live the SocialFish philosophy. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as a SocialFish employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise.  Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and SocialFish’s philosophy (that social media is about building relationships – not a numbers game).
  • Understand privacy settings on outposts. We don’t expect all of your social media use to be work-related, but we do expect you to keep the items you share with your close personal friends separate from what you share with your work “friends.”
  • Be yourself. Never impersonate someone else, or purposely obscure your identity as a SocialFish. Build your own reputation. Care about what you are talking about.  Add value to the conversation.
  • State when it’s your personal opinion versus the SocialFish opinion. For your personal blog, twitter account, or lifestream, we have a handy disclaimer that you can use.
  • Write what you know. Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what’s going on at SocialFish and in the world.
  • Don’t tell secrets. Respect proprietary information and content, and confidentiality.  Don’t discuss client work without permission.
  • Don’t spam. Ever. You can link to other SocialFish blog posts or information about services but do it subtly and only in response to a specific query.  We have other ways of sharing our awesomesauce.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Always attribute when quoting someone else. Make sure images are shareable through Creative Commons, and attribute them, too. Never use copyrighted material without permission.
  • Mistakes happen. Let the team help you fix your mistakes. Most of the time, admitting your mistake and moving on is enough. When it isn’t, the team can come  together to find a solution to any problem.
  • Share the love. We believe in sharing and linking to the best content from all over the web. A link is not an endorsement, so don’t be shy about sharing something from a “competitor” if you feel it is worthwhile to our clients and friends.
  • Be a good conversationalist. Monitor and reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate; but pause and wait if you are having an emotional response to something – or show someone else first before you hit the publish button.
  • Be clear, but not defensive. Be polite and professional, especially when you disagree with someone.  If you find yourself working too hard to defend, take a step back, let the community defend for you (because they will).
  • Remember everything online is discoverable. If you can’t show it to your mother or a judge, don’t post it. If in doubt, ask.
  • Always be learning. This space is fast-moving and ever-evolving. Read more than you write. Ask questions. Link to others and always build relationships. That’s what our work is all about.