Social Media: Philosophy and Policy


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Presented at the 2012 Texas Association of Museums conference in San Antonio, Texas by Catherine Kenyon and Mary Beth Tait.

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  • Introduce ourselves and tell a little about our experience with social media in our careers.
  • CK
  • MB I follow Georgina Goodlander on Twitter (Web & Social Media Content Manager at Smithsonian American Art Museum) and saw the live tweets she was doing for a What Do We Really Know about Museums and Social Media? Smithsonian Staff invited in person in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery at the National Air and Space Museum for the Museums Social Media Wikispace. It was a live discussion on twitter about a lot of the same ideas we are discussing today. One of the comments that really struck me was that if we let our staff answer emails and phone calls and speak about their work to people they meet or know, why not let them be involved in social media? If we are afraid of their interaction on social media we aren ’t doing enough training anyway. This isn’t to say we should give control to whoever, but think about our image overall, social media isn’t in a vacuum.
  • CK Mention specifically what the Museum does.
  • MB One of the biggest misconceptions about social media in the workplace is that it is a huge ol ’ waste of time. Would you rather have people engaging in constructive conversations with peers, visitors, potential visitors, resources, etc. within the umbrella of the employee code of conduct or going home and griping on twitter about how oppressive their workplace is? Encouraging employees to integrate their personal and professional presence creates a sense of trust, freedom, and also accountability.
  • CK Major news outlets all have twitter accounts and retweet stories from other major outlets, small town outlets, individuals, schools, non-profits, everyone. Employees talking about work doesn ’t have to be a horrible, scary, thing. If you outline the things that will FOR SURE get them fired, and provide guidelines for inappropriate topics of discussion or posting if you choose to identify yourself as a member of the organization. Otherwise a set of positive language guidelines is the best that can usually be done because the complex, broad, dynamic nature of social media.
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  • CK The picture links to the policy since it is way too long to put in the slide. Will also include in Resources slides.
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  • MB These are just related to doing things on your phone. Employers may be worried about personal social media use during work, but what about having the ability to respond to social media at night or on weekends? Lines are very blurred.
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  • MB On their blog, the American Red Cross thanked their supporters for being understanding and using the accident to encourage donations:
  • Social Media: Philosophy and Policy

    1. 1. Social Media:Philosophy and PolicyTexas Association of MuseumsMarch 28, 2012#smpolicyCatherine Kenyon, PrincipalCatherine Kenyon & Associates@cookwithaviewMary Beth Tait, Director of Collections & TechnologyDr Pepper Museum, Waco, TX@marbt
    2. 2. What is social media?• Social media are web or mobile services that revolve around the participation, interaction and content distribution among the users themselves.• Social media are built upon the spread of content like text, articles, images, podcasts and videos.• What distinguishes social media is that the content can be spread to other services. #smpolicy
    3. 3. #smpolicy
    4. 4. Why social media?• Seize the opportunity for your staff to be the voice of your brand and institution.• Social media is a unique opportunity to speak globally to your expertise. #smpolicy
    5. 5. Social Media Services• Video sharing services – YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo• Photo services – Flickr, Zooomr, Facebook, Instagram• Documentation and presentation services – DropBox, Slideshare• Blogs, micro blogs – Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Twitter• Bookmarking services – Delicious, Digg, Pinterest• Location-based networking – Foursquare, Facebook #smpolicy
    6. 6. Get Everyone on Board• Create an open and welcoming approach to new technology rather than a restrictive approach.• Be an advocate for social media in your institution.• Get beyond the stereotype that social media is a time waster.• Empower employees to use social media under the umbrella of the employee code of conduct and a social media policy. #smpolicy
    7. 7. Why have a social media policy?• The line between the personal and the professional sphere is officially blurred.• The line between “official” news media and social media is also officially blurred.• Institutional information is available from many sources, some not controlled by you (Yelp, Foursquare).• Users spread information about brands, programs and events.• Employees naturally talk about work online.• Good news travels fast.• Bad news travels even faster. #smpolicy
    8. 8. A social media policy may not be right for every organization• A separate social media policy at a small institution may be overkill.• It depends on staff involvement, both professionally and personally, online presence of the institution, desired objectives, etc.• Some organizations with a robust social media presence don’t have formal policies. #smpolicy
    9. 9. For example… Three Little RulesBeck Tench the Director for Innovation and Technical Enlightenment atThe Museum of Life and Science in Raleigh, NC’s, uses these three ruleswhen her staff present a new project using social media.• 1) Yes first. Everyone at the museum has the opportunity to engage in the museums online presence if they have the desire to do so.• 2) If it gives you pause, pause. I am always available to discuss how to handle situations online (to post or not to post? how to deal with a certain kind of commenter, etc.)• 3) Beck will have your back if something goes wrong. If you mess up, youll have an advocate in your corner defending your actions. Failure is often just as valuable as "success.” #smpolicy
    10. 10. A social media policy may not be right for every organization• Whereas large institutions may have huge staffs and an entire department dedicated to online marketing and PR.• Museums attached to public or private universities will be under the larger institution policy and may have less say in participation or management.• State run/funded museums will have similar restrictions. #smpolicy
    11. 11. For example… Considering Social Media • The social media policy of Tufts University is complex but welcoming, offering tips, templates, and references to related policies. • The Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts is governed by these policies. #smpolicy
    12. 12. What to include in a social media policy  Think twice, publish once  Be transparent  Don’t speak outside your expertise  Get permission to speak on behalf of the organization  Don’t post anything you don’t want your mom to read  If you associate yourself in any way with the organization, what you say can be used against you. Period. #smpolicy
    13. 13. What to include in a social media policyActing General Counsel Lafe Solomon of the National LaborRelations Act says: An employer’s policies “should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.”•Your policy can’t be filled with broad generalizations thatrestrict labor laws already in place.•Words like inappropriate, secret, offensive, etc. must bedefined. #smpolicy
    14. 14. What to include in a social media policy• Common expectations• Individual employee policy• Institutional policy• Definitions• Monitoring institutional online presence• Policies and procedures for handling a crisis• Staff responsibilities #smpolicy
    15. 15. Individual Employee Policy• Policies regarding personal blogs  Policy about disclosing personal blogs to management.  Disclaimer to differentiate the bloggers opinions from the organization’s.  Policy about personal blogging during work hours.  Secrecy and discretion in regards to institutional matters.• Policies regarding social media  Policy about using social media services during work hours.  Secrecy and discretion in regards to institutional matters.  Policy in regards to Institutional groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. #smpolicy
    16. 16. Institutional Policy• Policies regarding participation in social media  Who can represent the institution  What kind of information can be distributed on social media  How to handle feedback on staff produced content• Procedures when institution is mentioned in social media  Negative comments  Positive comments  Unhappy visitors or stakeholders #smpolicy
    17. 17. Crisis Handling• Policies for crisis handling in social media  Answer critiques directly  DO NOT censor the opinions of followers or online visitors  DO take down posts with excessive violence or vulgar language  Define this in your policy  Use institution’s own channels to answer critiques  Know when to take legal actions, and when not to  Know when to have direct contact with social media services (block a user, etc.) #smpolicy
    18. 18. Monitoring Institutional Online Presence• Develop a routine to keep informed in regards to your institution in online media.  Blog monitoring  Social media monitoring  Google/Keyword alerts• Policies for employees  Inform staff where and how to report news and information found online regarding the institution.  Encourage all staff to help with monitoring online media. #smpolicy
    19. 19. Who does the work?• Decide who is responsible for the maintenance of each service, even if they are not specified in the policy.  Staff can change more frequently than the policy• Have a written protocol and chain of responsibility for content:  Developing the idea, approval of the idea, and technical responsibilities• Take this opportunity to become the expert #smpolicy
    20. 20. Plan for Rapid Change• Stay current on trends in and out of the museum field.• Use well researched resources like the NMC’s Horizon Reports – museum and K-12 editions.• Join the Museum Computer Network (MCN) or the Nonprofit Technology Network and attend their annual meetings.• Look at what other museums are doing. A few good ones to watch:  The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC  The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois  Powerhouse Museum | Science + design, Sydney Australia  The Victorian & Albert Museum (UK) #smpolicy
    21. 21. Some Things to Consider• Companies that promote openness in social media are much less likely to become involved in a social media crisis.• None of the top 100 companies to work for block access to social media. #smpolicy
    22. 22. Some Things to Consider• Who pays for the hardware associated with managing social media?  Phone plans  Apps  Data usage• Don’t create a suffocating work environment because of fear of misrepresentation, low efficiency, etc.• Beware of the dreaded “Tweet from the Wrong Account” and learn to use the tools, especially if you are juggling personal and professional accounts.• Don’t be afraid of mistakes. People in social media like real people, and real people make mistakes. They will forgive you as long as it is handled well. #smpolicy
    23. 23. Cautionary TalesTry to avoid getting “Dooced.”According to Urban Dictionary, to get “Dooced” is to lose your job because of something you wrote on your website. Dooce is also known as blogger Heather Armstrong, who was famously fired in 2002 for writing satirical stories about her co- workers (who all remained anonymous, as did her place of employment) on her blog #smpolicy
    24. 24. Cautionary TalesHere is what Heather has to say about her experience: “In February 2001, I launched as a place to write about pop culture, music, and my life as a single woman. I never expected more than a couple of dozen people to read it. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, you should be aware that when you order Prada online and then talk about it out loud that you are making it very hard for those around you to take you seriously.” Source: #smpolicy
    25. 25. Cautionary TalesThe Red Cross “Rogue Tweet”This tweet from Red Cross social media specialist Gloria Huangwas meant for her personal account: #smpolicy
    26. 26. Cautionary TalesThe Red Cross “Rogue Tweet”The fix and response was light-hearted and apologetic. Itresulted in donation and support from Dogfish Head beer, too! #smpolicy
    27. 27. Resources• New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report – Museum edition• New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report – K-12 edition• Online Database of Social Media Policies – includes policies of some of the largest corporations and some non-profit agencies• Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy - wiki• Walker Art Center Blog Guidelines http ://• Why Your Social Media Policy May Be Illegal by Eric Schwartzman• Social Media Policy Template Updated to Comply with 2012 National Labor Relations Board Guidance by Eric Schwartzman• #smpolicy
    28. 28. Resources• The Red Cross “Rogue Tweet”• Social Media Governance Online Database of Social Media Policies•• Mashable Business “10 Must-Haves for your Social Media Policy”• The Gen Y Guide to Web 2.0 at Work by Sacha Chua• Tweet Freely: Your Social Media Policy and You BY AARON LESTER•• #smpolicy