Thursday, June 10, 2010

Social Media Policy for your workplace?

Just what we need is another policy right?  Social media looks like it is powering on and is capturing more users’ everyday including at the workplace.  GASP!  Not at your office, right?!?  In a recent study as many as 50% of companies have put the lock down at the firewall level to stop employees from accessing places like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.  And Palo Alto Networks is coming out with new software that will give Facebook the ability to create groups in the office to determine who can write messages or give a group the ability to read only.

Do you really need a policy?

If you are worried about your company’s image out on the interweb, as represented by employees within your organization, then I would say yes.  Also, it may be nice to set some guidelines up on how it may be used within a project (you may want to include this in your communication plan within your project). 

Are you monitoring the buzz about your company on the web?

If you are not, you better start.  If that one negative review is the first thing that pops up in a google search you better know about it!  Monitoring can be done by opening a google alerts account that will notify you if your keyword (company name) is found in a website.  Or you can purchase software to do this from organizations like Networked Insights.

What is in a policy?

1.     Don’t forget your day job.  You need to have a statement like this within the policy if you plan to have an open network (no locking down of social networks).  You may want to take it to the next level about reserving the right to remove or limit their access or possible termination if they are abusing it (not getting their work done).

2.     Rules for engagement.  Include items like not discussing confidential information and if you would not say it to your grandmother you probably should not be writing about it.

One of the best policies I’ve read is from the company RightNow.  They used social media policies from Intel, Sun Microsystems and IBM to development theirs.  If possible, try to steer clear of writing it up like a legal document (social media policies for states and cities are like this). 

Notable quote:

“Be real and use your best judgment.”  -Zappos (a one line social media policy)

Link up: 

~100 social media policies from different industries:


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2010


    We have plenty of policies at the UW I just wish someone would enforce them..


  2. AnonymousJune 16, 2010

    I like the thought process....

  3. AnonymousJune 23, 2010


    I think there definitely needs to be some thought and strategy put around this at every org. As a consultant in several different orgs, I wonder if their statement that use of company equipment should be for business purposes only and can be monitored at anytime covers it?

    Good post!


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