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.


One Response to “Social Media Policy”

  1. Blake — I really like your idea for an easy way to customize and create your own social media policy!


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