Friends for Youth Social Media Policy for Staff
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    Friends for Youth Social Media Policy for Staff Friends for Youth Social Media Policy for Staff Document Transcript

    • Social Media/Networking Guidelines for StaffPurpose of social media/networking and this policyAGENCY  encourages  staff,  Board  members,  volunteers,  program  participants/clients,  and  other  supporters  to  be  champions  on  behalf  of  the  organization  by  spreading  the  word  about  the  importance  of  AGENCY  MISSION.  We  recognize  that  our  greatest  tool  in  recruiting  new  volunteers  and  attracting  new  supporters  and  donors  is  through  word  of  mouth.    Social  Media  Sites  The  rapid  growth  of  communication  through  social  media  is  emerging  as  opportunities  for  outreach,  information  sharing,  and  advocacy.  Used  responsibly,  they  provide  an  effective  way  to  stay  connected  to  and  expand  our  community,  be  informed  of  new  trends  and  topics,  and  share  information  and  perspectives.  These  sites  include,  but  are  not  limited  to    • Social  networking  sites  like  Facebook,  Twitter,  LinkedIn,  and  MySpace;  • News  sharing  and  bookmarking  sites  like  Pinterest,  delicious,  and  Digg;  • Photo-­‐  and  video-­‐sharing  sites  like  flickr  and  YouTube;  and  • Other  forms  of  posting  personal  online  content  like  web  sites,  blogs,  vlogs,  podcasts,  chat  rooms,  forums   and  wikis.    Public  and  Private  Boundaries  These  tools  have  also  blurred  the  line  between  private  and  public  activity;  it  is  more  important  than  ever  that  AGENCY  advocates  who  choose  to  tell  their  story  online  understand  what  is  recommended,  expected,  and  required.  Information  from  your  Facebook  page,  your  blog  entries,  and  your  tweets  -­‐  even  if  you  intend  them  to  be  personal  messages  to  your  friends  or  family  -­‐  can  be  easily  circulated  beyond  your  intended  audience.  This  content,  therefore,  represents  you  and  AGENCY  to  the  outside  world  as  much  as  an  advertisement  or  traditional  media  coverage  does.  Given  the  reach  of  the  Internet,  it’s  important  that  when  you  use  these  various  media,  you  follow  some  basic  procedures  that  protect  the  privacy  and  confidentiality  of  our  Program  participants/clients  and  their  families,  as  well  as  maintain  our  identity  as  a  high-­‐quality  nonprofit  organization.  These  policies  apply  to  AGENCY  staff  when  they  participate  in  social  media  for  work,  but  it  should  also  be  considered  if  personal  blog  activities  may  give  the  appearance  of  speaking  for  AGENCY.  Adhering  to  the  following  points  in  either  situation  will  provide  protection  for  you,  our  Program  participants/clients,  and  AGENCY.      Goals  for  Using  Social  Media  AGENCY  encourages  staff,  Board  members,  volunteer  and  program  participants/clients,  and  other  supporters  to  use  the  Internet  to  share  their  perspectives  about  our  organization,  our  services,  and  our  work.  Our  goals  are  • AGENCY  GOALS    Whether  or  not  a  AGENCY  staff  member,  Board  member,  volunteer  or  program  participants/clients,  or  other  supporter  chooses  to  create  or  participate  in  a  blog  or  online  community  on  personal  time  is  his  or  her  own  decision.  However,  it  is  in  AGENCY’s  interest  that  staff,  Board  members,  volunteers  and  program  participants/clients,  and  other  supporters  understand  the  responsibilities  in  discussing  AGENCY  in  online  communities.  We  strongly  emphasize  the  importance  of  understanding  and  following  guidelines  as  listed  below  to  all  who  participate  in  social  media  on  behalf  of  AGENCY.  These  guidelines  will  continually  evolve  as  new  technologies  and  social  networking  tools  emerge.       1  
    • Support  for  Using  Social  Media  AGENCY  does  not  intend  to  “police”  the  online  community;  on  the  contrary,  we  want  to  aggregate  all  the  powerful  stories  AGENCY  advocates  are  telling  and  showcase  your  individual  contribution  to  the  overall  mission.  These  guidelines  are  intended  to  help  you  live  the  social  values  of  and  represent  AGENCY  professionally  by  sharing  your  thoughts  and  using  your  personality  and  own  voice.  We  encourage  you  to  embrace  social  media  by  providing  you  some  guidelines  without  attempting  to  stifle  your  social  voice.        Be responsible for what you writeBe  fair,  ethical,  accurate,  and  honest.  Do  nothing  that  could  in  any  way  damage  or  invade  the  privacy  of  our  program  participants/clients  and  their  families,  undermine  your  credibility  with  the  public,  damage  AGENCY’s  standing  as  an  excellent  nonprofit,  or  otherwise  jeopardize  AGENCY’s  reputation.    Always  pause  and  think  before  posting.  What  you  publish  is  widely  accessible  and  will  be  around  for  a  long  time,  so  consider  the  content  carefully.  That  said,  reply  to  comments  in  a  timely  manner,  when  a  response  is  appropriate.  When  disagreeing  with  others  opinions,  keep  it  appropriate  and  polite.    Acknowledge  and  correct  mistakes  promptly.  When  corrections  are  made,  preserve  the  original  post,  showing  by  strikethrough  what  corrections  have  been  made,  to  maintain  integrity.    While  participating  as  an  authorized  AGENCY  spokesperson,  you  represent  AGENCY  at  all  times.  If  you  are  an  employee,  the  rules  for  conduct  in  the  AGENCY  Employee  Handbook  apply  to  you  in  the  social  world,  too.  Represent  yourself  with  your  name  and  title.  If  you  are  not  an  employee,  represent  your  association  to  AGENCY  accurately.    All  forms  of  online  dialogue  are  individual  interactions  unless  posted  by  authorized  AGENCY  personnel.  AGENCY  staff,  Board  members,  volunteers  and  program  participants/clients,  and  other  supporters  are  personally  responsible  for  their  posts.  If  you  reference  or  discuss  youth  mentoring  or  other  topics  related  to  AGENCY,  be  upfront  and  explain  your  association  to  AGENCY;  however,  if  you  aren’t  an  official  company  representative,  add  a  disclaimer  to  the  effect:  “The  opinions  and  positions  expressed  are  my  own  and  don’t  necessarily  reflect  those  of  AGENCY”  or  “This  is  a  personal  weblog;  the  opinions  expressed  here  represent  my  own  and  not  those  of  my  employer.”  If  you  are  mixing  your  professional  and  personal  life,  exercise  discretion.    If  you  are  unsure,  ask  yourself,  “If  I  mention  something  about  AGENCY,  would  I  be  comfortable  with  a  program  participant/client  or  his/her  family,  volunteer,  or  supporter  seeing  what  I  wrote?  Would  I  be  comfortable  having  a  media  source  reproduce  my  tweet/post/blog  and  attribute  it  to  me?”    Be authenticWrite  what  you  know.  Make  sure  you  write  and  post  about  your  areas  of  expertise,  especially  as  related  to  AGENCY.  You  have  a  unique  perspective  on  our  organization  based  on  your  talents,  skills  and  current  responsibilities.  If  you’re  interesting  and  authentic,  you’ll  attract  readers  who  understand  your  specialty  and  interests.    Be  yourself  –  and  be  transparent.  If  you  have  a  vested  interest  in  something  you  are  discussing,  be  the  first  to  point  it  out.      Consider audienceBe  sure  you  won’t  alienate  any  groups  of  readers.  They  may  include  current  and  past  program  participants/clients  and  their  families,  volunteers,  and  supporters,  potential  volunteers  and  supporters,  as  well  as  current/past/future  employees.     2  
    • Be  sensitive  about  linking  to  content.  Redirecting  to  another  site  may  imply  an  endorsement  of  its  content.  Do  link  to  content  that  is  contextually  relevant;  an  article  about  our  focus  area  in  general  supports  our  mission,  but  an  article  about  another  program  may  direct  someone  away  from  our  programs  and  services.    Exercise good judgment and common sensePost  meaningful  and  respectful  comments.  Accepted  social  etiquette  applies.  Do  not  post  material  that  is  harassing,  obscene,  defamatory,  libelous,  threatening,  hateful,  or  embarrassing  to  any  person  or  entity.  Do  not  post  words,  jokes,  or  comments  based  on  an  individual’s  gender,  sexual  orientation,  race,  ethnicity,  age,  or  religion.  Posting  pornography  is  forbidden.    If  you  are  unsure  about  the  nature  of  your  post,  check  with  a  staff  member  or  representative  of  AGENCY.    Delete  spam  and/or  comments  that  are  off-­‐topic  or  inappropriate.  Authenticate  your  followers  or  fans  on  a  regular  basis  –  social  networking  is  flooded  with  spammers  looking  for  followers  to  build  their  presence.    Use  professional  language  and  grammar;  check  spelling  prior  to  posting.    Understand  that  AGENCY  can  and  will  monitor  social  media  and  social  networking  web  sites  to  protect  our  program’s  participants  and  assure  the  integrity  of  our  agency’s  online  identity.      Be  respectful  and  professional  to  fellow  volunteers,  employees,  business  partners,  competitors  and  clients.  Avoid  using  unprofessional  or  inappropriate  online  personas.    Appreciate concept of communityCommunity  is  a  platform  where  your  supporters  or  volunteers  feel  comfortable  sharing,  connecting,  and  receiving  help.  It  exists  so  that  you  can  support  others  and  they,  in  turn,  can  support  you.    When  confronted  with  a  difference  of  opinion,  stay  calm,  express  your  points  clearly  and  logically,  and  correct  mistakes  when  needed.  One  of  the  aims  of  social  media  is  to  create  dialogue,  and  people  won’t  always  agree  on  an  issue.  Avoid  personal  attacks,  online  fights,  and  hostile  personalities.  Sometimes,  it’s  best  to  ignore  a  comment  and  not  give  it  credibility  by  acknowledging  it  with  a  response.    Include  links  –  find  out  who  else  is  blogging  or  posting  about  the  same  topic  and  cite  them  with  a  link  or  make  a  post  on  their  blog  when  it  is  appropriate.  Links  are  what  determine  a  blog’s  popularity  rating  on  blog  search  engines  like  Technorati.  It’s  also  a  way  of  connecting  to  the  bigger  conversation  and  reaching  out  to  new  audiences.      Respect brand, trademark, copyright, and fair use lawsFor  your  protection,  do  not  post  any  material  that  is  copyrighted  unless  (a)  you  are  the  copyright  owner,  (b)  you  have  written  permission  of  the  copyright  owner  to  post  the  copyrighted  material  on  your  blog,  or  (c)  you  are  sure  that  the  use  of  any  copyrighted  material  is  permitted  by  the  legal  doctrine  of  “fair  use.”    Protect privacy, confidentiality, and proprietary infoRecognize  that  everything  you  write  or  receive  on  a  social  media  site  is  public.  Anyone  with  access  to  the  web  can  get  access  to  your  activity  on  social  media  sites.  And  regardless  of  how  careful  you  are  in  trying  to  keep  them  separate,  in  your  online  activity,  your  professional  life  and  your  personal  life  overlap.    Respect  and  maintain  the  confidentiality  that  has  been  entrusted  to  you.  The  nature  of  your  job  may  provide  you  with  access  to  confidential  information  regarding  AGENCY,  program  participants,  or  fellow   3  
    • employees.  Don’t  divulge  or  discuss  proprietary  information,  internal  documents,  personal  details  about  other  people,  or  other  confidential  material.    Don’t  publish  or  cite  personal  details,  indentifying  information,  or  photographs  of  AGENCY  staff,  Board  members,  volunteers  and  program  participants/clients,  and  other  supporters  without  their  permission  and,  for  program  participants,  without  a  signed  release.  Any  disclosure  of  confidential  information  will  be  subject  to  the  same  AGENCY  personnel  policies  that  apply  to  wrongful  dissemination  of  information  via  email,  conversations  and  written  correspondence.    Do  not  copy  full  text,  audio,  or  photographs  from  any  AGENCY  sites  onto  a  personal  site  or  web  page.  You  can  link  or  connect  to  our  site  through  widgets  that  AGENCY  provides  to  the  public  under  the  same  terms  of  use  as  apply  to  anyone  else.    Bring valueUse  social  networking  to  promote  the  mission  and  vision  of  AGENCY.  Posts  and  comments  should  be  thought-­‐provoking  and  build  a  sense  of  community.  If  it  helps  people  improve  knowledge  or  skills,  be  inspired  to  support  us,  become  involved  in  our  programs  or  activities,  or  understand  AGENCY  better  -­‐  then  its  adding  value.    Be  active  and  timely.  Maintain  your  presence  –  don’t  do  it  just  for  the  sake  of  participating  in  social  media,  but  try  to  post  at  least  once  every  few  weeks.    Over  the  long  run,  if  you  find  yourself  not  posting,  consider  whether  you  should  continue  or  become  a  contributor  to  a  group  effort.    Productivity mattersEnsure  that  your  social  networking  activities  don’t  interfere  with  your  work  commitments.  In  order  for  social  media  endeavors  to  be  successful,  you  need  to  find  the  right  balance  between  social  media  and  other  work.     4  
    • Staff Protocol for Social Media Use    Consistency  and  branding  STAFF  POSITION  will  become  or  designate  another  staff  member  to  become  the  administrator  for  social  media/networking  accounts.  This  person  will  maintain  a  file  of  all  account,  log  in,  and  password  information.  Before  creating  a  new  account,  check  to  be  sure  there  is  a  need.  Once  the  need  is  confirmed,  staff  may  register  for  any  and  every  social  media  service  to  reserve  our  name  “AGENCY”  ideally  with  no  variation  in  spelling  or  abbreviation.  When  setting  up  a  profile:    • Use  a  standard  email  address  (title@agency.org);  • Add  as  much  of  our  company  information  (address,  web  site,  etc.)  as  possible;  and  • Set  privacy  settings  to  be  appropriate  for  the  tool  or  site.    For  the  AGENCY  Twitter  account:  no  signatures  or  separate  posting  identities  are  needed,  unless  this  is  determined  necessary.    For  the  AGENCY  blog:  log  in  as  AGENCY  or  as  individual  author.      Handling  "unwanted"  followers  or  user-­‐generated  content  Check  followers/fans  for  opt-­‐in  accounts  on  a  regular  basis  and  remove  unwanted  connections  as  soon  as  possible.  This  may  include  spammers  or  inappropriate  content-­‐generators,  identifiable  by  viewing  their  account  information.    If  any  staff  views  unrelated  content  or  spam  on  any  sites,  it  is  advised  to  remove  it  as  soon  as  possible.    Program  participants  are  given  a  copy  of  the  AGENCY  Social  Media  Policy  and  are  advised  to  follow  it  the  same  as  employees.  Volunteers  are  also  given  additional  guidelines  regarding  the  confidentiality  of  content  related  to  program  participants/clients.  If  followed  correctly,  unwanted  or  incorrect  content  will  likely  not  be  generated  from  these  advocates.  However,  if  a  staff  member  does  see  content  that  does  not  support  the  mission  and  vision  of  our  program,  it  is  advised  to  • Contact  the  author  offline  and  clearly  state  the  problem  with  the  content;  • Suggest  alternatives  to  convey  the  author’s  intent  while  supporting  AGENCY’s  core  values;  and  • Ask  for  more  feedback  or  ask  to  continue  the  dialog  if  not  satisfied.    If  a  volunteer  uses  any  content  that  is  specifically  designated  as  not  acceptable  to  share,  staff  may  contact  the  volunteer  immediately  and  request  that  the  inappropriate  material  be  removed  immediately.  It  is  advised  to  take  a  friendly  and  collegial  approach,  as  many  volunteers  may  have  forgotten  or  overlooked  the  guidelines  and  the  breach  may  be  unintentional.    Other  people  who  are  not  satisfied  with  our  efforts  (potentially  declined  volunteers)  may  choose  to  express  their  dissatisfaction  through  social  media.  If  any  advocate,  whether  staff  member  or  program  participant,  views  negative  or  damaging  content  about  AGENCY,  it  is  advised  to  first  bring  to  the  attention  of  the  STAFF  POSITION.  Together,  staff  can  assess  the  pros  and  cons  of  addressing  the  content  on  social  media.  If  the  decision  is  made  to  move  forward  with  handling  the  content,  address  each  issue  individually  and  make  suggestions  as  to  what  information  can  be  added  or  changed  so  that  the  message  aligns  with  AGENCY’s  core  values,  usually  by  offering  an  alternate  viewpoint  as  a  comment  or  feedback  that  expresses  the  positive  nature  of  our  program.     5