Rules of Engagement for Social Media on Government Time

Social Media Outposts

Earlier this year, we talked about how 60 percent of government workers are using social media, 40 percent find it useful in their jobs, and 63 percent have access to it at their work.  And since we are nearing the 500-member mark on our LinkedIn resource page—the City Clerk Café—it is no surprise to us that there is a time, and a place, for social media in the government.

But whether you are a beginner, or well-versed in social media, you have probably had questions from time to time about how to engage in social media, and what the appropriate etiquette is for this new media.

Unlike formal codes of conduct, which guide our interactions at work, there is no “Government Social Media For Dummies” book to gain insight from, and most lessons are learned by trial and error.  But there are a few  “Survival Tips for Social Media” that can be shared, and will help you get the most from your social media experience.

Black Mountain Software’s Survival Tips for Social Media

Consider Cyber Security and Confidentiality.  Remember that everything online can be accessed, so be sure not to breach security or confidentiality by discussing anything that the whole world shouldn’t see.  If you wouldn’t broadcast it over a loud speaker at town hall, don’t post it online!

Engage.  It’s perfectly fine to sit back and spectate while learning a new social media platform.  In fact, it’s encouraged.  But once you begin to feel comfortable in the medium, be sure to create a presence and interact.  The best parts of social media—engagement, advice, and relationships—can only be gained if you connect with others and participate in the conversations.

Don’t Get Too Personal. As much as social media can be a tool for you, it can also be a tool for your employer to monitor you.  So don’t post anything too personal, don’t slander a company, customer, or co-worker, and steer clear of anything that can be misconstrued or deemed inappropriate.

Use Social Media As a Resource.  Are you meeting a business contact for the first time? Connect with them on LinkedIn, check out their online profiles, and get the scoop on Google.  But at the same time…

…Check Out Your Good Name.  A quick Google search of your name allows you to see what others see.  Make sure there are not any pictures, posts, Tweets, or incriminating information about you online, and if there is, remove it.

Take Extra Time to Set Up Your Privacy Settings.  Each social media platform allows you to customize the settings so only certain people and the public see certain things.  It’s a good idea to limit was is allowed to be shared with “friends of friends” or the public.

Connect with Quality, Not Quantity.  It’s okay not to accept every friend request, to not follow every follower back, and not to connect with every LinkedIn invite.  In fact, if you have received an invite from someone who you do not know and the request seems suspicious, it’s probably spam, and you could be putting yourself, and your contacts, in a security breech.  Certain spammers look for “friend collectors” and use them to hack into their cyber accounts, or compromise their passwords and security settings.  A good rule of thumb is this: If there’s no common denominator—a common friend, follower, industry, job, or hobby—then don’t accept the invitation to connect.

Limit Your Time.  Social media can be addictive, so be sure to limit the amount of time you are spending on social media while at work.  When you are on company time, limit your social media engagement to work-related conversations.

Keeping a few etiquette tips in mind can help you engage in social media and get the most out of it, while not interfering with your job.

Share This Post:

This entry was posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.