Friday, 9 March 2012

Developing social media policies

At the National Career Guidance Show in London yesterday, someone asked me for some thoughts about developing social media policies in educational institutions and organisations.

These are some of my initial thoughts

• be clear about he aims and scope – promoting use of social networking for institution and student benefit, who is covered by it?
• try to be positive, rather than emphasising the restrictions and blocks
• ensure ICT involvement as they may act as gatekeepers and bar access to some sites
• carry out an equality impact assessment – will any groups be disadvantaged by introduction of more social media use?
• Think about how this links to other policies – e.g. do you have one for internet/email use, data protection, equalities etc.
• Identify what happens if people breach the policy – e.g. staff disciplinary procedure may come into force
• State what the policy is – what people may do
• Think about what happens when people leave the institution, and the removal of their profiles
• Outline how the institution will promote safe and responsible use – e.g. briefings, training, support, monitoring
• Detail roles and responsibilities – e.g. what are ICT responsible for, managers, staff etc, who will help set up profiles for people, or advise, train and support them
• Be clear how usage will be monitored, and what expectations of staff in terms of moderation and responding to comments etc
• Do you have any expectations about people’s personal use of social networking – for example you might discourage them from befriending students from their personal profile, and discourage them from befriending family from their professional profile, you may also have rules about how and when they may access their PERSONAL social web accounts
• What are the expectations about what people post – i.e. not bringing institution into disrepute, not associating the institution with groups or discussions which would be considered inappropriate – e.g. racist, sexist, homophobic
• Put forward a suggested confidentiality statement if appropriate

There are also useful resources online, such as this online database of around 200 social media policies from companies and organisations around the world.

Tiffanhy Black's article on writing a social media policy also offers some really useful thoughts to consider.
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