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Governance of Social Media - Social Media Governance

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are the world's most popular sites for people to share information and socialise electronically.

Blogging, Instant Messaging and Skype all play a significant role in enabling people to keep in touch with one another, wherever they are in the world.

Collectively, sites and Internet services like these are known as social media.

This page covers the governance of social media in the workplace.

Social media are part of a wider revolution in how the Web works, which is often called Web 2.0 (read more about Web 2.0 here). Individuals and regulators are increasingly aware of the dangers faced when using social media, and these insidiously insecure aspects of Web 2.0 are now increasingly described as 'Threat 2.0'.

Social Media and the Organisation

What individuals do at home they would like to do at work. But how should organisations regulate and manage the use by their staff of social media during work hours? And what sort of risks do organisations face, in terms of potential data loss, unregulated communication of confidential information, and work time? Assessing and controlling the new risks associated with the use of social media is just part of the challenge faced by organisations.

The other part of the challenge is how social media should be used as part of a corporate communication and marketing strategy. How should the talents and credibility of individuals within the organisation be harnessed to position the organisation and its products or services in the best possible light? How should the organisation respond to criticism of it, whether on blogs or in a LinkedIn group?

Cultural impact of social media

Social media will fundamentally change how many organisations handle communication, both internally and externally. Even more than mobile communications and the so-called 'porous perimeter' created by the proliferation of laptops, mobile phones, PDAs and smart phones, social media make potentially every individual within the organisation a critical point of presence for organisations on the Internet. iPhones and other mobile devices even have social media applications available on the mobile platform. Some organisations recognise the significance of the associated risks and respond by denying the social media revolution outright, banning access to social media sites during work hours. Only their marketing and communications teams have limited access to these channels; sales teams which ask for Instant Messaging services are denied.

Social Media Governance Policy

There is a better response: recognise that social media have a role to play, and that staff want to use social media like they want to chat by the water cooler. Develop a social media strategy. Identify your corporate social media objectives, perform a risk assessment (threats, vulnerabilities, likelihoods, impacts) assign roles and responsibilities, develop a social media policy and an appropriate mix of procedures and guidelines, acquire the appropriate technical controls, train staff on how to behave and what to do, implement a monitoring and review framework, and make social media a regular part of how you do business.

Social Media Governance Toolkit

While any organisation can develop a coherent set of policies and guidelines from its own experience, and by drawing on the wide range of information available on the Internet, a more straightforward approach is to use the Social Media Governance Toolkit.

The Social Media Governance Toolkit contains templates for creating a social media strategy, allocating roles and responsibilities and identifying risks. More importantly, it contains a full set of policies, procedures and guidelines for the use of social media, drawing on and consolidating all the latest best practice from around the world.

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