Sample College Social Media Policy Guidelines

Many organizations are grappling with social media policy guidelines for their employees, including my own.

Sample Social Media Policy

I tried my hand at writing some, and then refined them by poring over hundreds of other social media policies of other organizations (both in the public and private sector – one great archive is available here at socialmediagovernance.org) and borrowed some of the best suggestions to craft my own set of guidelines that I’m pursuing for approval with the leadership of Grand Rapids Community College.  So for what it’s worth – I’m making them available to everyone in case they’re of assistance:

What a lot of organizations don’t realize is that their employee conduct policies already cover social media, so it’s not always necessary to create an entirely new policy.  When you’re evaluating how to approach it – there are three simple ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it Simple: There’s no need to address every single social networking platform individually, nor to describe every potentially negative behavior – something as simple as a statement reminding employees that the employee handbook/code of conduct applies online to social media may be sufficient.
  2. Appeal to Employees’ Good Nature and Common Sense:  Encourage employees to take the view that social media is no different than face-to-face interactions with stakeholders.  If they wouldn’t try to be anonymous, dishonest, or mean in person – they should hold to those same principles online.  Relating to others well is a universal principal in both the digital and analog worlds.
  3. Educate, Don’t Pontificate:  Rather than trying to browbeat employees into submission with restrictive Authorized User Agreements, monitoring employee activity online or lengthy rules and restrictions – try to offer friendly advice and take an educational approach.  There are social media case studies virtually every day in the news; use those as “teachable moments” in your employee communications.  (Besides – AUAs and monitoring workstations are irrelevant anyway given that employees can defeat them by using their smartphones to access the Internet.)
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  1. July 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Nice job Derek. I especially like the parts in your policy about updating pages regularly and how colleges are held to different standards as far as grammar. See you on Thursday!

    Like

    • August 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks; and thanks also for stopping by last week – I think I learned as much or more than you did!

      Like

  2. Eric M
    July 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Derek,

    Thanks for initiating this work – I think it is an amazing draft. My only suggestion is to apply this to recognized, official student organizations as well.

    -Eric

    Like

    • August 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      That’s an interesting proposal. Though I would hate the idea of stifling the creativity and engagement of student groups, ultimately they are obliged to the college in the form of the funding we provide them.

      Like

      • Eric M.
        August 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

        I agree. But as official groups I think they should be included. And good professional development/ expectation building for them.

        Like

  3. September 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Derek, thanks alot, used the link which you provided and managed to tweak a few policies according to my requirement, so now awaiting confirmation from the committee if they all agree with the final version or the revised one.

    Like

  1. January 25, 2011 at 7:48 am
  2. February 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm
  3. November 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

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