Social Media Policies and Assessment
In recent years, news stories about employees being fired over social media etiquette have seemingly been on the rise. For example, in July, an anonymous Burger King employee posted a photo of himself stepping in lettuce on 4chan (an image-based board). Allegedly, it only took 15 minutes for a few 4chan users to track down the store where this photo was taken. The employee was promptly fired. There have been many and more stories about comments, statuses, and photos shared on Facebook leading to employee terminations. For example, this pizza restaurant server was fired after venting about a bad shift on her Facebook profile, which was set to private. Recently, Air Canada employees have also come under fire for comments made on a closed Facebook group. In light of the increasing online presence of employees, many organizations have begun to enforce social media policies to regulate online behaviour.
Kroski’s article ‘Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy?’ provides straightforward guidelines applicable to any organization looking to employ social media policy. Aubry also outlines the main components of social media policy in a straightforward manner in 10 Must-Haves For Your Social Media Policy. For a template of what an actual, official social media policy might look like, see Cara Donlon-Cotton’s “Sample Social Media Policy” (available through UWO Lib).
Generally, social media policies are put into place in organizations in order to ensure that employees do not make defamatory comments about said organization online, and to enforce consequences in cases when employees portray themselves in an offensive or inappropriate manner in a public forum. Social media policies also normally establish rules for when organizations are justified in removing user comments on a website. When introducing a library into the world of social media, monitoring its online image is vital. Similarly, holding employees accountable for their own online images seems to have become necessary in this day and age. If you’re creating policies yourself, or merely following them, always remember: What happens online, stays online forever.