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A Guide to IT Contracting by Michael R. Overly, Matthew A. Karlyn

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Social Media Policies
CHECKLIST
Key Steps
Understand your company’s need for a social media policy
Acknowledge that the denition of social media is a moving tar-
get—so dene the term broadly
Describe the overall scope of the social media policy and how it
relates to other company policies
Set guidelines for internal computer use generally; employees
should know that:
S If it is done on a work machine, it belongs to the company
S Content produced on work machines is not private
S Content may be monitored
Set guidelines for outbound communications; employees should:
S Exercise care in draing all communications, whether per-
sonal or professional; pause before posting
S Never post inappropriate content
S In general, employees should not hold themselves out as rep-
resentative of company when posting Social Media content.
S Establish approval and moderating process for employees
who wish to hold themselves out as representative of com-
pany (e.g., writing a professional blog)
Employees should ask questions and ultimately sign the policy
322  •  A Guide to IT Contracting: Checklists, Tools, and Techniques
INTRODUCTION
Social media (sometimes referred to as “social networking” or “Web 2.0”)
is an integral part of people’s lives. People are participating in social media
at staggering rates through the many social media outlets that now exist.
Many companies have recognized the benets that can be achieved through
the use of social media in the workplace, including supporting the company
brand, providing a forum for customer feedback, and building professional
networks. e use of social media can help credential your business, connect
with prospective clients and customers, and support professional develop-
ment eorts. Furthermore, with the increasing number of daily interactions
with social media, every company must be aware of how unfettered, uncon-
trolled use of social media by the company’s employees—both inside and
outside the work environment—can expose the company to undue risks.
ose risks can be addressed and reduced through the adoption of an appro-
priate company social media policy. is chapter provides an overview of
company social media policies and why such policies are important to a
company, and includes guidelines for development and implementation.
While what precisely constitutes “social media” is constantly debated by
the media, technology industry professionals, and consumers, it is clear
that social media uses web-based technologies to turn communication
into interactive dialogues and into the creation and exchange of “user-
generated content.” e widespread use of social media in individuals’
lives means there is an inevitable overlap with those individuals’ places
of employment, which subjects a company to legal risks. For example, an
employee promoting the company’s products may trigger Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) scrutiny, making proprietary information public can
have trade secret implications or violate a nondisclosure agreement with
a third party, and discriminatory or violent statements may implicate
harassment or other serious charges. Even if an employee does not intend
to make his or her communications public, the ease with which informa-
tion is shared and forwarded via social media technology may result in
public dissemination of information that was intended to remain private.
e risks may also be far more direct: a dissatised employee may post
intentionally derogatory comments about the company, co-workers, or
company leadership, damaging the company’s reputation.
A social media policy outlines for employees the company guidelines
and principles for communicating in the online world. e policy is

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