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Corporate social media policies: AP makes a blooper? [Jun. 24th, 2009|01:19 pm]
Διδαξον με τα δικαιωματα σου
[music |Meat the Press - Steve Taylor]

The AP's new policy on social media has generated a firestorm of discussion today.

Specifically, the clause under scrutiny says this:

Q. Anything specific to Facebook?

It’s a good idea to monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards; any such material should be deleted.

The argument is being made that the AP steps over a line expecting its employees to be held responsible for the actions of others.

But perhaps the policy needn't be criticized that much. In defense of it, consider:

  1. Facebook gives you item-by-item control over your wall for a reason.

    You probably DO want to control the display of some items there, so you can always click the convenient little "X" in the--you guessed it--upper right corner.

    This doesn't delete the entry made by the original author. It just clears it from display on your wall.

  2. Fair enough, it's true that your reputation has a bit to do with the company you keep.

    We all could learn a thing or two from that reminder. We should surround ourselves with social and professional networking contacts who enhance our credibility, not undermine it.

    On the other hand, don't journalists need to have a few disreputable contacts? Ok, granted, maybe Facebook is a bad place to keep in touch with them. ;)

    Also granted, Facebook includes purely social contacts, like, for example, longstanding friends and family. These, somewhat like fraternity brothers, will chide and cajole with references to flatuence and inside jokes that may require explanation, and they may be offended if you clear them out.

    Nonetheless, the policy's intention is still legitimate. They *might* need to soften the wording to allow for life outside work, however. Maybe.

  3. The policy says that it's a good idea.

    It was written with intentionally vague language. How do you expect someone to implement a good idea? How do you enforce it?

    Any employee found in violation of this policy could argue that he or she simply hadn't had the time to put good idea ahead of work responsibilities.

All-said, perhaps the AP policy should stand as-is. While these technologies emerge, we can temper excitement with caution, and, in the middle, find wisdom.

Question: What do you think? Is the policy unfair? Would you work for an organization with a policy like that? Do you have a problem with it? How would you rewrite it?

[User Picture]From: krikketgirl
2009-06-24 09:40 pm (UTC)
I think my biggest question is whether the policy applies only to what is publicly visible, or whether they're attempting to regulate even what is visible to only friends/family. I would say that one should be careful what is shared publicly, period, and I have to confess that I have been shocked by what some acquaintances will post/respond to as regards Facebook.

On the one hand, I think it's a bit much to suggest that one remove comments from one's acquaintances; on the other, there's a good reason for my having a disclaimer about others' posts on my LJ.
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[User Picture]From: jeffholton
2009-06-24 10:22 pm (UTC)
Good points, Kat.

I actually never really intended for LJ to give me professional use until the past few months. (Now I see it more as a way of promoting my personal brand to ALL possible readers.)

I think by default on Facebook, *nothing* is publicly visible, is it? The problem only enters into play where you are the ONLY buffer between two other people you interact with. Do they agree with each other? Like each other?

I can see why the issue is complicated. I have *purposefully* filled my contacts lists on Facebook, LJ, and Twitter with people whose opinions diverge from mine. Or, to put it another way, positively, while you and I have some things in common, we also have many areas of divergence where we can learn from each other.

If someone is just plain offensive I tend to drop them like last year's fashion.

Actually, that's a bad analogy. I'm still wearing last year's fashion.

Hey, who just said "last CENTURY'S fashion" and tried to make it sound like a cough??!
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