Social Media Policy

December 5, 2008



[a work in progress]

1. Connecting: Introduce yourself and tell me why you want to connect

Anyone becoming a follower must do so only if permission is granted by the user being followed. There is no particular question that I would ask, but one should be prompted on who is following them when using a site like twitter. This is to ensure the pure intentions of followers.  Honesty should be the number one priority when communicating online. 

2. Follow, add, friend:

When someone is contacting you to add you as a friend or follow you, there is no obligation for an immediate response. One should take as much time as needed to decide whether or not that contact is acceptable.  If there has been no face-to-face conversation regarding a following or adding of a friend then there is no obligation for an immediate response.

3. Privacy, boundaries and safety:

When considering privacy boundaries with friends, coworkers, and family, one should understand the complexity of individual disclosure. The network provider does have responsibilities to protect users’ privacy. It also has the responsibility of monitoring information that could potentially damage the reputation of the user. 

 I have found, in my experience with social media, that many people have a bolder presence on-line than they do in actual life.  This is because the process of interpersonal communication on-line is very safe.  It is much easier to create a message on-line than actually being face to face with another person.  The crucial element of spontaneity is absent when it comes to communicating on-line. 

4. Signal to noise:

Everyone experiences social media on their own individual level. Some are more vocal in expressing their thoughts and opinions, while others have a relatively silent presence on-line. As long as social media provides a way for people to express themselves without completely imposing information upon those who do not wish to receive it. Excessive status updates can be annoying, but they can be ignored as easily as a played-out television commercial. No one should have to justify ending a relationship on-line whether it be following or friending. 

5. Personal data and sharing:

Personal data and sharing has the potential to allow users to connect with others on a deeper level. If someone is comfortable sharing personal data they should be able to pursue any relationship on-line. It is important to note that information given on-line is not always reflective of the true personality of individuals.  Many people spend excessive time creating an on-line image that is simply not reflective of the person that created the profile.

6. My networking needs and uses:

Facebook is used to keep in touch with friends and family.  It usually provides a non formal way to communicate and share social aspects of their lives.  LinkedIn communication is professional and goal oriented.  There should be a separation in privacy because relationships on LinkedIn should reflect that of an actual business colleague.  Personal social information would be unnecessary and unprofessional.


By creating this policy I hope to challenge others to do the same and build on this example in order that we may, collectively, start to define some sort of social contract for social media.

Ideally, I’d love to see some Creative Commons-like tool that would allow users to craft their own personal social media contract as easily as they can create a CC license. Such a tool would also allow users to easily link or post the policy in a web friendly format.



General Electric, also known as GE, is responsible for the creation and innovation of many different products and services.  In order to scratch the surface and understand the complexity of this massive organization it is necessary to break the company down into various sections according to what product or service is provided to consumers. GE provides products for individuals and households.  Those same products may be produced on a commercial or industrial level serving communities or a larger segment of society.


GE’s home appliance line offers over 400 different products making it the largest appliance provider in the world These appliances include refrigerators, cooking ware, ovens, microwaves, air conditioners, air filtration systems, water filtration systems, and washers and dryers.  These products are useful to households across the world.  GE also offers many similar products for resturants.  The main difference is that these products are usually larger in size to accomodate the needs for resturants.


GE also offers various products in the field of aviation. GE offers an extensive line of aviation engines.  They produce commercial engines that are used in large passenger jets as well as smaller engines used in personal or business aircrafts.  GE provides our military with the F-110 engine that is used in F-16 fighter aircrafts.


Consumer electronics are also produced by GE.  Offering a wide range of computer accessories and home electrical products, GE provides consumers with their essential needs as well as their convenience and practical needs.  Many of their electrical products are the necessary components needed to provide a home with electricity. 


GE provides innovative energy technology that helps create cleaner and more efficient use of valuable resources.  They provide a wide line of emission reducing products that promote cleaner burning of coal.  GE also provides technology to harness the energy of the wind and the sun.  They do this through the use of photovoltaic modules and wind turbines.


GE provides advanced health care technology.  GE is leading the way in X-ray technology as well as molecular imaging.  They also provide portable ultrasound systems to serve people in remote areas of the world.


Different television networks are also provided by GE.  NBC, CNBC, NBC sports, Bravo, SCI-FI, and Telemundo are a few of the many broadcast networks that GE provides.  GE also owns Universal Pictures and Universal parks and resorts.  GE offers products as well as entertainment.


Oil and gas excavation is another aspect of GE that is crucial to society.  They offer advanced technology that allows them to drill for oil and gas while trying to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

Why work for GE?

December 3, 2008

I would really like to be employed by GE.  GE is one of the largest organizations in the world and they have a great reputation.  GE is an organization that realizes its need to serve people.  I want to work for a company that cares about people all across the globe. I want to work for a company that provides large amounts of money to ease human suffering.  I want to be part of GE beacuse it has such great influence over our world.

GE is one of the few corporations today that does not seem to be battered with corruption.  They genuinely care about the environment and strive to create efficent technology.  GE is an organization that makes me feel hopeful for the future.  GE represents the evolution of the human mind and spirit.  That is why I would be honored to work for GE.

GE’s Newsroom

December 3, 2008

GE’s Newsroom

GE offers a huge source of press releases in one area of their newsroom.  This webpage provides a tool that allows you to search for press releases by date, product group, or business group.   This is a user-friendly way for the public to access information they desire about the company. There is another section within GE’s newsroom that displays the ten most recent news stories that are focused on the company.  This feature is helpful because it helps guide viewers of the website to positive news coverage of GE.

There is another area of the newsroom that expresses GE’s viewpoints.  GE is such a massive organization that has business throughout the world.  For this reason, it is necessary for them to disclose their stance on certain issues with the public.  GE once again communicates openly and honestly with their public through this portion of their newsroom. The audio and video section of the newsroom provides a more interactive way of communicating with the public.  Streaming video is much more attractive than a long list of press releases.

At the end of every page in the newsroom, there is an icon that allows its viewers an opportunity to subscribe to a RSS feed.  A RSS feed is the most efficient way to communicate with people at all times.  If someone subscribes to this feed, they will have a constant and reliable source of information from GE.  Getting a customer to subscribe to a RSS feed should be the ultimate goal of any communication professional.  The quality of GE’s online newsroom reflects its outstanding reputation.






GE and the Groundswell

December 3, 2008


GE has created a blog in order to improve communications with their stakeholders.  Implementing social network technology is new for GE.  As of 2008, GE is officially tapping into the groundswell.  GE has a implemented a RSS feed and also has a twitter subscription.

GE is using blogs to communicate directly with investors.  GE used the blog to combat a potentially damaging rumor that they were going to cut dividends. I believe that offering a blog for stakeholders is an honest approach to informing those who have invested in the company.  I believe that it will be beneficial in the long run because GE is again showing they are not afraid to reveal their business practices.


Honors and Awards

December 3, 2008


General Electric received the U.S. State Department’s award for Corporate Citizenship in 2007.  GE received this award because of the extensive relief they provided to the tsunami victims of Indonesia.  GE provided over $800,000 to construct 147 houses in Banda Aceh.  The GE foundation matched donations by employees collecting $8 million dollars to donate to tsunami victims.  Overall GE provided over $20 million dollars in cash and goods to areas damaged by the tsunami.

GE subtly promoted their products and their overall image through their press release on November 6, 2007.  GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt elaborated on the extensive efforts to provide humanitarian relief:

            On behalf of our 1,600 employees in Indonesia and the others across the world, we are honored to receive this award, a reflection of how we continue to dedicate our expertise and resources in supporting the communities in which we operate,” said Mr. Immelt. “This award is an excellent example of how GE can help improve the quality of life for our citizens, our employees and our customers, as we bring to bear our culture of integrity and innovation in communities we serve.”

GE also mentioned the use of water purification technology and portable healthcare systems.  GE donated their portable x-ray units as well as portable ultrasound units.



In 2008 GE’s aviation team, the Green Hornets, received an environmental excellence award.  They were recognized for providing new aviation technology through the use of the F414 engines.  The engines are known for their noise reduction technology as well as their 40 percent reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions. 

GE improves its image by once again promoting not only the strength of their products, but also by showing their environmental consciousness. 


When thinking of publics an organization can usually narrow down their target market  to a particular demographic or socioeconomic characteristic.  GE is unique because it serves such a vast public.  GE reaches out to so many people across the globe that its public is extremely broad.  GE is known throughout the world and serves people that may have never purchased a GE product or service.  This is because so many of GE’s products benefit people indirectly through the final product they provide. 


GE has a numerous and diverse customer base.  GE’s customers  are vast and located in over 100 countries throughout the world.  One of GE’s largest customers is China.  GE believes that conducting business with China is mandatory due to the economic landscape of the world.  GE was also a sponsor of the Olympics in Beijing.


GE provides the components that are responsible for excavating oil and gas.  On top of providing these crucial components, GE also provides the industrial sized lighting  that allows drilling rigs, pipelines, and refineries to continue operations throughout the night.  Any large business that needs industrial lighting is also a customer of GE. 

The History of GE

December 3, 2008


General Electric was created when to brilliant minds decided to join forces.  Thomas Alva Edison was a young inventor living in New Jersey who invented the first successful incandescent electrical lamp in 1876.  After the success with his invention, he was able to create the Edison General Electric company.  Edison’s brilliant mind was always powered by the need to provide service to the general public.  Edison’s character is revealed through one of his famous quotes. “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give to others.”


Meanwhile a respected business man by the name Charles Coffin had just started his on company known as the Thomas Houston Company. Coffin was a humble man with a business savvy like no other person of his time. Coffin was known as “a man born to command, yet who never issued orders.”    


Edison General Electric and the Thomas Houston Company became huge competitors.  Offering similar services, the intense competition was creating negative effects for both companies.  The two companies finally merged in 1892 creating the General Electric Company.  This was the beginning of endless possibilities for these two men.  Edison possessed the inventive and innovative knowledge while Coffin was able to use his keen business skills in a market that was eager to adapt new technology.


In 1900 GE opened its first research and development laboratory.  From there, GE has evolved into a complex organization that provides a variety of products and services that benefit society.



For Immediate Release is a twice weekly commentary on public relations and technology.  Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz host the show via the For Immediate Release website or through podcast.  Hobson is located in Wokingham, Berkshire, England and Holtz is located in Concord, California.  Together, they offer a well-rounded perspective on the ever-changing world of public relations.


After a short introduction, Hobson and Holtz cut to Eric Schwartzman in Singapore for a report on the current use of social media to help leverage government communications.  Singapore is the richest country in south east Asia and there has been an explosion in the use of social media by communication professionals.  Schwartzman noted that the people of Singapore are openly willing to embrace any and every aspect of social media.  He explained how the people of Singapore are adapting to social media much faster than Americans.


Nicholas Aaron Khoo a communication professional in Singapore explained how the speed in which social media is being adapted has had dramatic effects in surrounding areas.  In Malaysia an incumbent party of the past 50 years was almost defeated in an election because the opposing party used social media for their campaign.  Even with the success of social media, many communicators have not figured out the rules to this new technology.  The government in Singapore use social media to cover up problems instead of addressing the issues at hand. 


The next topic was focused on a practical joke that two employees of the BBC that made a prank call to a veteran actor using foul language during a radio show.  There were over 30,000 complaints to the BBC about the call.  Clearly, many people were outraged by the prank call, but it is important to note that a facebook group was made with 34,000 members supporting the pranksters.  Hobson noted that there has become a need to have a rapid crisis management team to help address such problems.


This was my first time listening to For Immediate Release and I really enjoyed listening to all the different perspectives that were provided.  Aside from the ridiculous transition music, the information is presented in a very comprehendible manner and the hour long podcast seems to pass rather quickly.  I will continue to listen to For Immediate Release because the information is so current and really helpful to a student like myself going into the field of public relations.

Preparation for a Crisis

November 4, 2008

Donald Levy explores the dangers of journalists seeking to expose information that could possibly damage the reputation of a company.  He uses the hypothetical situation that popular documentary director Michael Moore makes an unexpected visit to a company demanding answers from the CEO.  If he cannot talk to the CEO, he would be more than comfortable putting the media relations person on the “hot seat” in order to get the information he needs for his documentary.

As a PR practitioner, one can be faced with many difficult decisions.  Since the reporter is unexpected, you have no statement prepared to address the problem.  You have not received permission to answer the questions that are being asked and doing so could cost the PR practitioner their job.  Avoiding the question completely or answering “no comment” only makes the company look suspicious and motivates journalists to be relentless in their search for finding damaging information.


The key to combating this potentially dangerous situation is preparation according to Levy.  Levy explains how the really difficult questions come from reporters who focus on how the company has taken advantage of the public or endangered them in some way.  Levy explains how the best response to negative accusations is by answering with what is referred to as a positive opposite (27).  When representing a company, the PR practitioner should explain that the organization sets out to protect its publics, not harm them. 

 It is always important to plan for the future when it comes to crisis situations.  Many problems can be solved by thinking ahead and having positive press releases, photos, video clips, or anything that can represent your company in a positive light.  Showing this type of hard evidence to journalist empowers the PR practitioner with credibility.


 This article helps me to understand the importance of being prepared for anything when it comes to representing your company.  To be an effective PR practitioner, one should always be thinking of hypothetical situations that could have a negative impact on the organization that is represented.  When answering questions, the PR practitioner should be fluid with responses and give the reporter not only words but physical evidence.  This preparation allows the practitioner to not only influence reporters perceptions, but it helps build valuable relationships with the various media outlets that are ultimately responsible for covering your organization.



Levy, Ronald N. (2007).  You: ready for Michael Moore.  Public Relations 

             Quarterly, Vol. 52.1 (pp.27-29)