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Social Media Overlap

While doing some research for my upcoming seminar I was looking for a catchy graphic that really summarizes the “why” a company needs a Social Media policy, or at least publish some employee guidelines that clarify a company’s position on Social Media. I was fresh off reading a blog post by Mike Volpe on one of my fav sites Hubspot, where he passionately explains last July why he believes “A Social Medial Policy is Stupid.”

I was still mulling over Marks thought about governance and I was thinking of Ford’s Policy…well, more guidelines than policy. It was also July when Lydia Dishman of Fast Company noted in her blog post on policy that Scott Monty, their Social media guru listed 10 guidelines. You can check them out at: Fastcompany, but they are:

1. Be honest about who you are

2. Make it clear that the views expressed are yours

3. You speak for yourself, but your actions represent those of Ford Motor Company

4. Use your common sense

5. Play nice

6. The Internet is a public space

7. The Internet remembers (i.e., “Whatever happens in Vegas…stays on Google.”)

8. An official response may be needed

9. Respect the privacy of offline conversations

10. Same rules and laws apply: new medium, no surprise

11. When in doubt, ask

The irony of 11 is not lost on me. 🙂 I found that list not only insightful, but also a slight sense of irony because just this weekend I read the after-action report on Ford’s battle with a popular online community, the Ranger Station. The report broke down very nicely the anatomy of crisis response in the social sphere done right, and Scott was in the thick of it. My respect of Mr. Monty is growing. Which by the way the slideshow is at:  L?Roanok if you have some time to read it.

So, like I often do, I am weighing a couple of camps opinions on the value of social media governance and policy and I stumble onto a Flickr stream with the attached pic from Mark Smiciklas of Intersection Consulting  that depicts what he called the “Social Media Overlap.” In the comments section he wrote “As our professional and personal lives become more connected through social media, it’s common for organizations to have some employees representing their brands on social networks away from the office.”

Though I do not dispute some of the valid points Mr. Volte makes, I believe that most recognize in the rough and tumble world in which we live that businesses and organizations are best served with some form of policy, clarity and guidance to their employees (and managers) on their online habits and behaviors, especially with how they view things. In many cases it is after damage has been done, or when an organization is in crisis that these are considered, and any policy implemented afterwards often feels like an empty, knee-jerk response.

Mark Smicklas’ reminder that it is not always easy to blur those lines between personal and professional, and a prudent responsible decision-maker would see the forest through the trees when it comes to guidelines and policies.