I was particularly interested in looking at social media policies for universities and government agencies. I looked through the list that Kat posted (thank you Kat!) and predictably found many of these social media policies/guidelines to be excessively long, dense documents. Like most policy documents they appear to be based on the fear and expectation that people are going to do something wrong and the policy needs to address all the possible wrongness that can be wrought and to a certain extent provide CYA for the organization when the wrong does happen and it blows up.
Among the list, however, I found a few that seem to be modeled on the same template that, like Kat’s Volvo example, expect people to be adults and give them useful information to navigate responsible communication in this new medium (media?). The University of Michigan
is a good example. It uses headers such as Do No Harm, Correct Mistakes, Respect Others, Take the High Ground,
and Respect Your Audience
. The main part of the document is only four pages long and provides good advice to protect both the individual and the organization. I think that is key. The policy should reflect the organization’s respect for the individuals and set an expectation for the individual to respect the organization.