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Some real experience in social computing and a code of conduct

It was an interesting time in the Christmas to New Year break in the West, on one hand the pace slows down operationally but on the other hand more time gets devoted towards thinking a little more strategically. It’s obvious to look at the year gone by to try to assess what was actually achieved, but it’s also the time to reflect on what should, or needs to happen in the year ahead. This year I have noticed amongst colleagues right across the industry from vendors to practitioners a huge increase in sending each other links to content and opinions spread around the web, and to inviting each other to link up in social communities.

It suggests that people feel compelled to ‘get involved’ with the ‘social computing’, the reasons may be many and complex, but it feels like we have now crossed the line with social computing. It has followed a series of technologies, starting with the PC, moving through the Internet and Web, into Smart Phones, that people have adopted ‘personally’ first, and then they penetrate the Enterprise unofficially, until they reach a level that they have to be formally adopted.

It’s this point of formal adoption that is the issue that a lot of CIOs are struggling with, so let’s see if I can do anything to help by reproducing below a ‘draft collaborative code of conduct’ that appeared in the book Mesh Collaboration. This might give a starting point in drafting your own enterprises variation covering any particular requirements.

However the best help is by finding out from others experience so do go to the most incredibly useful site to find out direct from senior managers in well known Enterprises what they went through in adopting social computing and change programmes. http://blogcouncil.org/

Yup now interacting with these guys is real business value through using social computing for collaboration!

Draft: Collaborative Code of Conduct
Requirement: To provide guidance that is mutually beneficial and enables the use of collaboration to create value for individuals in the execution of their work, and for XXXX (insert enterprise name) in achieving its business goals, whilst ensuring that the management can exercise due control over necessary content and activity where collaboration may jeopardize the commercial activities of XXXX, in respect of the law, confidential and/or competitive information, and etc.
Statement: Whereas collaborative mechanisms have proven to be extremely valuable to the overall ability of the company to achieve its primary business objectives, there is the recognition that these mechanisms come with some risk and a new set of responsibilities to be shared at each level of the enterprise.
As such, XXXX recognizes the need to establish a standard code of conduct applicable to all employees in order to clearly delineate each individual’s responsibility in reference to the creation, sharing, reuse, and editing of content used for collaboration as well as the starting, joining, commenting, or similar activities within communities so that we may maintain XXXX high standards of professionalism as we participate in this exciting new media.
In general, this collaborative code of conduct extends the existing code of behaviour expected of employees in current situations to new forms of interactions internally or externally using new technologies such as, but not limited to, WiKis, Blog sites, mailing lists, social networking sites and/or applications, and in any other collaborative format as yet defined that may be created as the Internet and the World Wide Web continue to evolve.
In particular XXXX will both implement a Digital Rights Register and publish continuously update guidelines for the use of Digital Rights Management so that individuals can maintain appropriate control over their content used for collaboration. This same facility will be used by XXXX management to ensure internally sensitive documents, and information cannot be distributed, and used in ways that are inappropriate.
In all cases, without exception, if any employee of XXXX is in doubt as to how to conduct or whether to conduct any interaction they are to seek out their immediate supervisor for guidance before proceeding. Training in this regard will be maintained and ongoing with a substantive effort to disseminate new information, policies and practices as they are developed.
It is incumbent upon every member of the XXXX team to maintain a polite and professional appearance while engaged with collaboration internally, but in particular, externally in order to maintain the good reputation and strength of XXXX brands. In particular, when interacting in a collaborative manner employees are not to engage in any dishonest or illegal behaviour, or any behaviour that could be construed as such. Further, employees are to avoid any strong or heated disagreements, personal attacks, ongoing arguments, or behave in any other manner that could be perceived as harmful to XXXX and its brands.
Any press inquiries that may come as a result of chance encounters or other interactions from members of all forms of media must first be presented to XXXX public relations department for vetting before any comments, quotes or information is to be supplied. Further, if an employee has reason to believe that a person they may be interacting with is a member of the media they are to ask that person if they are in fact with a media outlet. The definition of “Media” is to extend beyond the commonly understood forms such as print, television and radio, to include publishers and content providers to blogs, WiKis and any other format for the dissemination of news and information.
It is strictly forbidden to release any information about any topics listed on the XXXX intranet site specifically for the purposes of ensuring there can be control over sensitive information generated by events and circumstances as well as those topics already defined. This includes, but is not limited to identifying information, contact information, or any other personal, professional or job related information.
XXXX intends to create an openly innovative and collaborative environment both externally to assist its customers, suppliers, partners and others in having a positive and enriching experience in doing business with XXXX, and internally to assist its employees in working in a personally and collectively rewarding manner. As such employees are asked to participate in the XXXX communities as they relate to respective job duties both internally—blogs, WiKis, and etc—and externally such as communities on FaceBook, Linked In, MySpace, professional blogs, and various WiKis. Further, it is the responsibility of managers to notice the use and effectiveness by employees of collaborative and social networking technologies and to encourage and train for effective usage of these mediums.
It is also required that employees maintain a separate online identity to those that they may operate under during their home Internet use. Wherever practical Employees should also maintain a screen name while interacting externally in order to protect their personal information, but not where it could be construed as a deliberate attempt to hide or confuse the truth from a situation where this might be considered sensitive.
Accessing unacceptable, profane, or inappropriate websites and/or behaving in a similar manner while engaged with collaborative resources internally or externally will not be tolerated or treated in any different manner to the existing requirements for acceptable behaviour in the Human Resources manual.
Employees by default accept responsibility for their actions and share responsibility for the actions of those around them, and are expected to not only comply with the written requirements of the Code of Conduct but also to comply with the spirit of the code as well.

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Paulette Neal-Allen

Andy, I first read this yesterday and thought wow, this is awesome, but I’ll never get anyone who matters to read it. Funny story – a couple of weeks ago, someone else in my department saw that I had made a comment on one topic here on GovLoop, then 2 hours later made another comment on another topic… and thought I’d been on here the entire time. I wasn’t; I commented, completed a task, and checked back in and saw something else to comment on – but in an environment like that, how do you even think about using what you’ve posted? And I suspect that there are many people out there who have the same kind of environment.

But then, I realized that an environment where people don’t understand social media and don’t understand the way that people interact with social media, that’s exactly where something like what you’ve posted here is most helpful. The template you’ve posted here offers reassurance that people ARE thinking about their actions online, and ARE being responsible about them, and it also offers reassurance that if an employee’s online actions are detrimental to getting their job done, there are remedies available to management.

So – Thanks! Now I’m off – back to work!

andy mulholland


really great to hear this from you, and yes think your task based on observation is absolutely what happens. I can see it in the site statistics for the Capgemini Web site where traffic for web 1.0 content ‘listings’ is declining relative to the increasing traffic for ‘events’, news stories and blogs which together i will describe as ‘topical’ and are clearly found and used in context to create ideas opportunities etc as to the art of the possible through working differently.

regards andy