5 Social Media Policy Resources

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Not working in a library (nor the information profession) at present, I wasn’t sure how to go about this task as it requested we consider resources relevant to our workplace. My workplace policy on social media is that we do not have company approved access to social media! However, I still thought it was a valuable exercise, so below are my five resources for Social Media Policy.

1. State Library of New South Wales. (2012). Social Media Policy.retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/policies/docs/social_media_policy_v1.0_2012-10-24.pdf

  • This policy states that social media is about conversations and contains clear guidelines as to who the policy relates to and how it relates to them. It is quite an in-depth policy and not only details the responsibilities of different organisational roles within the library context, it also references applicable legislative and policy frameworks such as Federal and State laws.

2. Jones, J. A. (2012, February 9). 10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for your Business. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/10-tips-for-creating-a-social-media-policy-for-your-business/

  • Whilst this piece was not written specifically for libraries, it does give some good advice. Interestingly Jones refers to each tip as a strategy and I think this helps to remind us that the use of Social Media in business is a strategic decision and should be approached as such.

3. The University of Newcastle Australia. (2011). Social Media Communication Policy. Retrieved from http://www.newcastle.edu.au/policy/000953.html

  • This policy document provides clear statements about expected behaviour from both university staff and students. It also clearly references other applicable university policy documents. Finally, there is a very clear statement about the consequences of breaching the policy such as disciplinary action within the university or referral to a statutory authority.

4. State Records Authority New South Wales. (2010). Social Media Engagement Policy. Retrieved from http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/about-us/accessing-state-records-information/state-records-policy-documents-and-tabled-documents-1/social-media-engagement-policy

  • This policy provides staff with five key principles to follow when interacting on social media: Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways that might bring State Records into disrepute; Do not undermine your effectiveness at work; Do not imply State Records endorsement of your personal views; Do not disclose confidential information obtained at work; Be a Public Servant. It also references other applicable organisation policies. Whilst very succinct, it is still clear.

5. National Archives of Australia. (2013). Your social media policy – what about records? Retrieved from http://naa.gov.au/records-management/agency/digital/socialmedia/social-media-policy.aspx

  • This document provides Commonwealth agencies with advice on constructing a social media policy. There is a sample policy given and there is also a list of policy aspects that the Archives recommends in an ideal policy. It also clearly shows which other policies/protocols should be considered/referenced in a social media policy.

5 Keys to a Social Media Policy

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As I said in my post Did You Know 4.0 policy sets boundaries and expectations: Clear boundaries ensure users understand that there may be consequences to breaching them resulting in users, usually, abiding by them.

I see that five key points for libraries to consider in writing a Social Media Policy for employee use of Web 2.0 tools using company resources are:

  1. All employees need to be aware of the terms of use: of company computers, paid work time and company internet facilities. It is not unreasonable for employees to expect some level of restriction on their use of company assets. Further, the company can also be held accountable for staff behaviours if nothing is done to stop illegal behaviour (e.g. racism, sexism, etc.) that is being conducted on company assets.
  2. The Social Media Policy needs to be consistent with all other company policies. If all policies are consistent, then they are easier to remember and adhere to. So if the Computer Use policy states that employees are not allowed to access Facebook (for example) using work computers, then the Social Media Policy needs to state that only approved users will be given access to Facebook and that it must only be used for company business.
  3. There needs to be a clear understanding and statement around privacy: both operational and customers’ privacy. All organisations have information that they wish to keep private be that proprietary information or customer details or even personnel details. There are legal and moral obligations that need to be followed and these requirements need to be very clear.
  4. Be transparent: ensure that it is understood that full disclosure is important in comments. Insisting that employees disclose that they work for the organisation is good practice and enhances customer trust in the organisation. It should also be clear that such disclosure is not necessary in their personal networks.
  5. Be professional. This is important. At work, one is a professional and they must be expected to behave as a professional. This includes such behavoiurs as not arguing with customers or staff in public forums, not making negative comments about the organisation on Social Media, etc.

I choose these out of the myriad of possibilities as I see them as being quite broad but narrow enough to have meaning.

Identity, privacy, security and trust …

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Internet privacy – an oxymoron?

I often have a chuckle to myself when people talk about privacy and the internet – there is no privacy. Once something is posted, it is there. Essentially forever. However, it has been a long time since we (the general public) have had real privacy: Medicare cards, Tax file numbers, bank accounts for wages deposits these are all systems designed to track information about us and therefore open to exploitation. So whether the information about us is on the web, or on paper, it is possible for personal information to be discovered (See NT example, TAS example, VIC example as just a few more recent examples)

For me, privacy on the internet is more about my financial details, e.g. credit cards, and certain identity details such as birth date, etc. I guess this is what Raynes-Goldie (2010) referred to as informational privacy. It is difficult to never give any of this information out, but I carefully select who I give it to, to minimise my risk: As Raynes-Goldie (2010) points out, in some cases, the benefits of being on the web outweigh the risks.

To mitigate some of the more unflattering potential of a web presence, Pearson (2009) discusses the potential to control your online presence; to make you your brand. This is certainly one way to exercise what little control we have over the web, but I often consider that I am not the kind of person who needs to be discussing privacy and security on the web … it is younger people; the so-called digital natives,  whose living memory has been spent in the on-line environment. I fear that it is these people who are most at risk.

Not necessarily at risk right now but in time, when they begin looking for work, when they realise just how much of them is ‘out there’. And maybe they won’t fully appreciate the need to keep certain financial details private and this exposes them even further. I take what Raynes-Goldie says about better framing the privacy question but I found the statement in the conclusion very pertinent: “The full implications for privacy in the age of Facebook and social media are still unknown…”


Pearson, J. (2009). Life as a dog: Personal identity and the internet. Meanjin, 68(2), 67-77. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=200906244;res=APAFT

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2775/2432 

Draft Marketing Strategy

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Never having worked in a library, this task is a little difficult as I can’t draw on any kind of personal exposure to such a policy/strategy. However, I think that all marketing strategies have the same goal: to increase an organisations’ customer base. So how can marketing ideas be used in libraries to develop a marketing strategy?

Public Libraries Australia provides an example marketing strategy which I found really helpful, along with Brown’s (2009) piece “Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy“. After reading these, if I were to create a marketing strategy for a library I would do the following (or at least try!):

  • I would look at the library’s mission statement and objectives and consider how these can be incorporated into the plan.
  • I would look at the current library user base and compare that with demographic data to see if the library has any gaps in its reach.
  • Once the target market(s) has been selected I would then investigate where those people are.
  • Upon locating the target market, the sites that will be utilised can be investigated.
  • To decide which sites to use and which services will be promoted will require discussions with library staff and the target group.
  • I would also try to make use of free sites to start with as this will counter possible budget constraints.
  • Initially the time required to implement the strategy will be more than will be required to keep it going. Potentially a few hours a day will become a few hours a week. However, taking note of Brown’s suggestion, time requirements will be something that will be fully considered and monitored.
  • Finally, the plan will be written down. The advantage to writing down the plan is the transparency, accountability and direction a written document provides.

All in all, marketing is essential to ensure that potential customers know that you exist and that you can give them something they need. Libraries can no longer rely on their historical position as the holders of information. Libraries need to cut through the noise of the internet to maintain their place as hubs of knowledge, learning and community.


Brown, AL. (2009). Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy, in Salt Lake City Social Media Examiner (30 July), Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy

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