There has been a number of questions posed in different areas of govLoop about Web 2.0 policies. In developing ours, I originally looked at Sun Microsystems’ and IBM’s policies. A few drafts later, it looked little like the first version, but hit the important points. As we worked through the process we decided that a simple, straight forward approach was our goal. There is enough ambiguity associated with Web 2.0, what it is and how does a local government utilize it, that the policy need not add more questions. This policy has cleared our legal team and is now waiting for official approval from our Board of Commissioners, so it is currently in a draft status. I have added it below, identified as County Social Media Policy. I also have included our Library System’s Web 2.0 policy, with their permission. It is identified as Library Social Network Policy. They are also working on similar goals related to Web 2.0. Both of our groups would appreciate any feedback you can provide.
Also, we made the official announcement on our website today about our Facebook and Twitter pages. This was a good moment for our team, something tangible to show for our efforts thus far.
County Social Media Policy
The purpose of this Social Media policy is to ensure the proper use of Cumberland County’s Web 2.0 technologies by its employees. Web 2.0 technologies, also referred to as “social media” are tools for communication and users have the responsibility to use these resources in an efficient, effective, ethical and lawful manner.
All social media communications messages composed, sent, or received on the County IT equipment are the property of the County.
Privacy and security
The County has the right to monitor employees’ social media use on County equipment and will exercise its right as necessary. Users do not and should have no expectation of privacy. Social media is not a secure means of communication.
When using Web 2.0 technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter, SharePoint, MySpace, blogs, or discussion boards, Cumberland County employees will act in a professional manner by:
1. Identifying themselves by name and as an employee of Cumberland County
2. Using only appropriate language
3. Being aware that what is written will not only reflect on the writer, but also on the Elected Officials of Cumberland County and other County employees
4. Not providing confidential information about cases or clients, including names, or be using such material as part of any content added to a site.
5. Not commenting on business partner’s or their competitor’s practices or services or using such as part of content added to a site.
6. Not providing information related to pending business decisions that would compromise negotiations or including such as part of content added to a site.
7. Being aware that all content added to a site is subject to open records/right to know laws and discovery in legal cases.
8. Insuring that all content posted to an external site will include a disclaimer that the comments and/or opinions posted are those of the postee and not the County.
When in doubt about the appropriateness of content you are going add to a site, it is best to refrain.
Employees should think of social media in the same manner as writing on a wall in public with the addition of their name and address attached to everything written. There are no truly anonymous postings to social media.
Library Social Networking Policy
The Cumberland County Library System sponsors staff blogs, wikis, photo sharing, video sharing, tagged websites and other social networking sites to further its mission to meet the cultural, educational and informational needs of library users and community residents. The Cumberland County Library System’s sponsored sites are also a place for the public to share opinions about library related subjects and issues. Comments are welcome and will be reviewed prior to publishing.
The goals of Cumberland County Library System sponsored social networking sites are:
• To increase the public’s knowledge of and use of library services;
• To promote the value and importance of the Library System’s services among governing officials, civic leaders, and the general public; and
• To maintain open, professional and responsive communications with members of the public and the news media.
Publicly posted information will be professional and reflect positively on the Cumberland County Library System, its member libraries, staff, volunteers and services. Staff shall check facts, cite sources, present balanced views, acknowledge and correct errors, and check spelling and grammar before publishing any posts.
The Cumberland County Library System reserves the right not to publish any posting, or to later remove it.
Comments from the Public
Where moderation of comments is an available option, comments from the public will be moderated before posting by Cumberland County Library System designated staff editors. The Cumberland County Library System reserves the right to modify or remove any messages or postings that it deems, in its sole discretion, to be abusive, obscene, defamatory, in violation of the copyright, trademark right, or other intellectual property right of any third party, or otherwise inappropriate.
The Cumberland County Library System also reserves the right to edit or modify any submissions in response to requests for feedback or other commentary. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Cumberland County Library System is not obligated to take any such actions, and will not be responsible or liable for content posted by any subscriber in any forum, message board, or other area within the service.
By posting a comment, customers agree to indemnify the Cumberland County Library System, its officers and staff from and against all liabilities, judgments, damages, and costs (including attorney’s fees) incurred by any of them which arise out of or are related to the content posted by customers. Forums and messaging may not be used for commercial purposes or for organized political activity.
If a customer does not agree to these terms, the individual should not use the Cumberland County Library System sponsored sites as a violation of these terms may lead to legal liability.
Content on Cumberland County Library System blogs, wikis, and other social web applications is governed by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States licensing (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/).
Management of Social Web Applications
The Cumberland County Library System’s administrative office is responsible for overall blog or wiki administration. All staff-related blogs and wikis must be approved by the Cumberland County Library System Executive Director before an account may be set-up. Set-up questions and problems can be directed to the CCLS Training Services Coordinator.
Each site should have wording that indicates who the owner of the site is and an email link back to the library or individual who maintains it. The name of the library should be on the site, as well as an indication that the library is a member of the Cumberland County Library System.
Hosting, Training and Support
Currently, Cumberland County Library System blogs are hosted at blogger.com and wikis are hosted at pbwiki.com. Cumberland County Library System also uses Facbook.com business pages and MySpace.com sites for social networking, Flickr for photosharing, YouTube for video sharing and Delicious for tagged websites. As technologies evolve, use of other hosting sites must be approved by the Cumberland County Library System Executive Director.
Cumberland County Library computer services staff will install any necessary technical updates needed for the basic operation of tools hosted at approved sites. The Cumberland County training services coordinator will provide basic training to the primary staff members responsible for editing and maintaining the sites.
Moderating Public Comments
Where moderation of comments is an available option, comments from the public will be moderated by Cumberland County Library System staff editors before posting. Where moderation prior to posting is not an option, sites will be regularly monitored by library staff.
Cumberland County Library System designated staff editors shall not post any comments that are abusive, obscene, defamatory, in violation of the copyright, trademark right, or other intellectual property right of any third party, or otherwise inappropriate or incorrect. For example, the following may be removed by Cumberland County Library System editors before being published:
• Potentially libelous comments;
• Obscene or racist comments;
• Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language;
• Plagiarized material;
• Private, personal information published without consent;
• Comments totally unrelated to the topic of the forum;
• Commercial promotions or spam; and
• Hyperlinks to material that is not directly related to the discussion,
These guidelines will help ensure your site’s success.
1. Only establish a social networking presence if you plan to maintain it regularly.
2. Determine in advance who will contribute to the site and how much time you have for maintaining it. For successful, time-sensitive topics, consider using “found content” (ready-made data from library email lists, Web news, etc.) rather than drafting original content. Aim for brief, newsy posts with strong opening sentences.
3. Determine your audience. Is this a site for your department? For your users? For library-wide reading? All of the above? Any of these uses are appropriate, but use the answers to this question to guide your content and your marketing.
4. Consider a “soft launch” where you begin using a site quietly for a month or so to get used to it.
5. Links to related posts are encouraged, but editors should post original content rather than reposting entire items from other sites.
6. Pictures enrich blog entries and provide informational value to posts.
7. Do not feel compelled to post every day. Post when you have something to share.
8. Share your site in appropriate venues. Don’t rely on being “found.” If you have a site of interest to home schoolers, let them know. Use your blog URL in instructional materials. Add it to your email signature file.
9. Obtain Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States licensing language and logo from http://creativecommons.org/license/