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Do governments allow employees to access and use social media sites?
August 31, 2010 at 2:47 pm #109782
I would be interested in hearing from others:
1. What are your organization's policies around employee access to social media sites?
2. If you are given access to the urls, can you actually participate (I've heard some organizations block the technologies needed to participate)
3. Does anyone have a happy medium between a) and b) below that has satisfied employees/employers?
I'm working with a group of communicators at a Regional Municipality to develop a formal social media policy. We've made progress, but there's still lots to do. One of the next subjects we've been asked to explore is the topic of access: right now, only certain people in our organization have "open" web access and can access and use social media sites at work. Those people are mostly all communications staff who have created work-related social media sites for various programs and services.
Before we roll social media use out widely across the organization, we are trying to get more information on how other governments are handling access issues. The spectrum seems to be either
a) open access, monitor use, and treat misuse as a management issue or
b) keep access limited to only those people who are given permission to access social media in order to create/maintain/participate in social media sites.
But I'm certainly hearing here on govloop that, while many government organizations are jumping on board with social media and now have policies encouraging the use of social media, access to those tools remains a challenge for many government employees. As a communicator, I'm also wondering - are those governments that block access for most employees to their own social media sites losing out on an important (and large!) audience!!
August 31, 2010 at 4:09 pm #109798
I wonder about this too. It would be great to have a resource or list that has the bans of every agency. Just would be cool to compare. Is there a resource out there?
October 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm #109796
There are lots of great docs online about what governments around the world are doing to open up. New Zealand, Australia, the UK, the US. Some state govs have been fantastic about putting their regs online. Check out the Mass. gov work at
October 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm #109794
Hi Keren, I actually have posted a very similar question on the MISA Ontario LinkedIn group and have had some people state that their municipalities are open: http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=1902995&type=member&item=32369350&qid=6fd7e0dd-6ab9-44d6-95a3-bc9fcbd21dd9&goback=%2Egmp_1902995 You should take a look there as well.
I posted the question b/c we are in the process of trying to open up social media sites to all staff. Currently they are available to staff with manager's approval. We're doing policy and guideline leg work right now, and hoping to make the switch in Q2 2011.
October 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm #109792
October 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm #109790
The Government Alberta has published the following policy on Social Media: http://publicaffairs.alberta.ca/pab_documents/GOASocialMediaPolicyPlusAppendix-approved.pdf
In general the above social media policy is meant for to address how employees engage in public discussion.
Use of social media by employees, as part of their day to day work, is not limited at all; other than if the use of it isn't connected to work (i.e. personal reasons) - but then these are HR issues, not social media issues. Other concerns relate to employees use of social media in the cloud (Yammer, Facebook) but is more about records management and FOIP, where business records and information is collected in the US.
February 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm #109788
Generally, everybody is denied. You only get access if you can justify the case for it, and with supervisor/management approval. It is policed by IT. Misuse of the service is addressed by blocking the sites... Not specifically addressed as HR issue.
February 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm #109786
If you work for the Federal Government of Canada you can check out this link on GCPEDIA- http://www.gcpedia.gc.ca/wiki/Internet_access_blocking#Service_Canada
It will show you what sites are banned by department. It's pretty crazy how much it differs from department to department.
March 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm #109784
At the City of Thunder Bay, most if not all social media sites are locked out for users unless they are accessed through a stand-alone system outside our internal network and reserved for specific users to manage sites.
While there are certainly both security and productivity concerns with social media sites, it does seem odd that the city has a facebook page that employees cannot access while at work in the city. I think that it will also be a concern going forward with recruitment and renewal, as younger workers have a very different relationship with social media and the public at large are changing their opinions about how governmetn should be accessed in a Web 2.0 world.
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