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2 Contents of this guide Page 3: Introduction; Page 3: Explanation of the elements to include; Page 4: The rules; Page 5: Monitoring and contravention; Pages 6 & 7: A model policy document How do you ensure all of these are used appropriately by your members? 2

3 Introduction Many societies become concerned about whether and how they should use social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and are even more concerned about who should represent them online. Please remember that using social media should be a fun and/or productive activity. Encouraging members to participate in social media in a safe and thoughtful manner will be beneficial. A simple start to the advice: your existing child and vulnerable persons protection policy already applies to any interaction online. As such any new social media policy should complement policies that are already in place. What Elements Should Your Policy Include? Your policy needs to make clear your position on social media. It is designed to provide guidance for members and should be positioned as a key part of how the society functions. There are 5 elements you should include: 1. A definition; 2. Specific rules about the use of social media on behalf of the society (official accounts); 3. Rules relating to the personal use of social media that could reflect badly on the society (members accounts); 4. Statement of monitoring; 5. What will happen if these policy rules are broken? The following pages provide examples of what you might include. However, if you intend to make a policy legally binding then you might want to consider obtaining legal advice. A lighter approach can be taken with simple guidance, which will probably be more effective with volunteers and committee members. The Definition Use our definition, your own or even something more far reaching. Here is an example: Social media is an interactive online media that allows users to communicate instantly with each other or to share data in a public forum. It includes social and business networking websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media also covers video and image sharing websites such as YouTube and Flickr, as well as blogs. This is a constantly changing area with new websites being launched on a regular basis, and therefore this list is not exhaustive. 3

4 The Rules This section should make clear your expectations of members. You don t need to use too many, but keep them clear to establish your meaning. Official Accounts Below is a set of rules that must be adhered to when creating posts for social media on official society accounts. Use the same safeguards as you would with any other type of communication about the society that is in the public arena. Never post any potentially offensive or libellous material. Ensure that any communication has a purpose and a benefit for the society. Obtain permission from the committee before embarking on a public campaign using social media. Request a friend, fellow member or committee member to check and approve content before it is published online, if necessary. Follow any additional guidelines given by the society. Aim to adhere to best practice and guidance offered on noda.org.uk/socialmedia Members Accounts It is not usually appropriate to ask members to adhere to certain rules on their own profile; however, providing some guidance under your terms of membership may be of value to members. These possible rules could be used as policy for all official representatives of the society, including committee members. Ensure that any personal views expressed are clearly stated as yours alone and not representative of the society s views. Do not bring the society into disrepute, for example by posting images or video clips that are inappropriate or links to inappropriate website content. Do not allow your interaction on social media websites or blogs to damage working relationships with or between members, audience members or suppliers of the society, for example by criticising or arguing with such persons. Do not post any personal details of anyone connected to the society without their express permission. Avoid making any derogatory, offensive, adverse, discriminatory, untrue, negative, critical or defamatory comments about the society, other members, patrons, contractors or suppliers, or any comments which might reasonably be considered to insult, damage or impugn the society s or their reputation or character. Do not disclose any secrets or confidential, proprietary or sensitive information belonging to the society or members. This may include the nature or title of upcoming shows. Do not breach copyright or any other proprietary interest belonging to the society. Make all posts connected to the society or its shows both engaging and suitable for all audiences. 4

5 Final Statements These last two elements should be made clear in any written documentation that you make available. These points clarify how you might enforce the policy. Social Media Monitoring Here you should identify how you will monitor use of social media to help implement the policy rules you make. The paragraph below is a typical example of what you might use: The society reserves the right to monitor the use of social media on the internet. We may do this through randomised searches, specifically looking up profiles we suspect, or are referred to, as breaking the rules. The purposes of this monitoring are to: Ensure compliance with our own policy Ensure the society is complying with our own policies and legal obligations Protect the interests and reputation of the society and its members Contravention of this Policy Any member contravening your policy or rules should be dealt with in a similar fashion to your existing process for dealing with issues such as bullying or disruptive behaviour. An example action to state is: Any member found to repeatedly or seriously breach our policy may be asked to leave the society. A Model Policy Document (next 2 pages) The following page could be used as a handout document that provides a model for your society s use. 5

6 Social Media Policy for our Society The Definition Social media is an interactive online media that allows users to communicate instantly with each other or to share data in a public forum. It includes social and business networking websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media also covers video and image sharing websites such as YouTube and Flickr, as well as blogs. This is a constantly changing area with new websites being launched on a regular basis, and therefore this list is not exhaustive. Official Accounts For everyone posting on our behalf on any platform, the following rules must at all times be followed. Use the same safeguards as you would with any other type of communication about the society that is in the public arena. Never post any potentially offensive or libellous material. Ensure that any communication has a purpose and a benefit for the society. Obtain permission from the committee before embarking on a public campaign using social media. Request a friend, fellow member or committee member to check and approve content before it is published online, if necessary. Follow any additional guidelines given by the society. Aim to adhere to best practice and guidance offered on noda.org.uk/socialmedia Members Accounts Please keep yourself safe online and follow common sense. Always remember that you are a representative of our society at all times. Please adhere to the following rules. Ensure that any personal views expressed are clearly stated as yours alone and not representative of the society s views. Do not bring the society into disrepute, for example by posting images or video clips that are inappropriate or links to inappropriate website content. Do not allow your interaction on social media websites or blogs to damage working relationships with or between members, audience members or suppliers of the society, for example by criticising or arguing with such persons. Do not post any personal details of anyone connected to the society without their express permission. Avoid making any derogatory, offensive, adverse, discriminatory, untrue, negative, critical or defamatory comments about the society, other members, patrons, contractors or suppliers, or any comments which might reasonably be considered to insult, damage or impugn the society s or their reputation or character. Do not disclose any secrets or confidential, proprietary or sensitive information belonging to the society or members. This may include the nature or title of upcoming shows. Do not breach copyright or any other proprietary interest belonging to the society. 6

7 Make all posts connected to the society or its shows both engaging and suitable for all audiences. Social Media Monitoring We reserve the right to monitor use of social media on the internet. We may do this through randomised searches, specifically looking up profiles we suspect, or which are referred to, as breaking the rules. The purpose of such monitoring is to: Ensure compliance with our own policy Ensure the society is complying with our own policies and legal obligations Protect the interests and reputation of the society and its members Contravention of this Policy Any member found to repeatedly or seriously breach our policy may be asked to leave the society. 7

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