I’m familiar with the process that some agencies have in place to implement social media guidelines and begin using the various tools. In many cases, the guidelines and processes are developed and implemented by the Communication/Public Affairs office — is this pretty much standard practice across the government? If so, I’d be interested in specifics on how the accounts were set up and managed, when legal expertise was brought in, and who was involved in approving content, etc.
Can anyone share any information about this?
Many thanks in advance!
I work for a state university in Washington, which has a high standard for public records retention and disclosure.
I set up accounts for my campus (in a multi-campus system) on Facebook and Twitter. As Director of Communications and Public Affairs I manage content without any other approval, much as I do for our internal communications, external advertising, community relations efforts, and other communications and outreach, which includes commenting and posting on appropriate blogs and social networks (for example, putting our event invitation on a local social network site).
(Side note: If you trust someone to answer email representing the institution in an official capacity for public information whether that’s their title or not, I’d think you can extend that same level of professional trust to social media tools, with some discussion of how rapidly things spread in those networks and the need to be careful about personal/professional representation since the context and culture are so highly social.)
As my activity on Twitter grew, I began training other colleagues and we’re now sharing best practices in a new media work group. We’ve had a briefing by our assigned deputy attorney general on some of the records issues.
I’m now researching backup utilities in order to capture a record of tweets. Since they can be deleted, just as Facebook content can be, the backup is as good/flawed as any other retention system.
I would characterize ours as an organic approach rather than topdown, with communication professionals exercising the same judgment we do in all aspects of our work. I’ve been raising policy and procedural questions in what I share with colleagues and we’re finding our way through the questions and answers.
Social media is growing and changing so rapidly that we’ll need to continue this all along the way. Any Twitter guidelines I write today will practically need to be updated every month or so to keep up with best practices. Despite that, I’m working on this type of overview, based on this UK template found thanks to @cheeky_geeky http://www.scribd.com/doc/17313280/Template-Twitter-Strategy-for-Government-Departments.
This is very helpful, Barb. Thanks so much for your response. I’ve also looked at the UK template that you mention.