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.


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.


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.