Resources for organizations developing social media policies

While my own preference would be for a policy of "Don’t be stupid," that’s unrealistic for most organizations. I’ve recently been collecting examples of policies from various organizations. If you know of other examples, please let me know in the comments

  • Online Database of Social Media Policies
    Here’s a site that has collected social media policies from a growing list of organizations. Looks to be an excellent resource
  • The FASTForward Blog – Eight Issues to Consider in Your Enterprise’s Internal Social Software Policy: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary
    Tech Republic recently posted on 10 things you should cover in your social networking policy. There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, including my prior post, Social Media Policy Guidelines Can Encourage Use Outside Enterprise and Adoption Within. Like most policy discussions I have seen, this one focuses on social software use on the Web. However, it remains no less importance for effective enterprise 2.0 adoption to have guidelines that also cover usage inside the enterprise. I think the ten points are very useful and eight apply to internal use, some more than others.
  • 10 things you should cover in your social networking policy | 10 Things |
    As sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook become intertwined with business uses, organizations need to establish guidelines for employees on workplace access and appropriate usage. Deb Shinder looks at 10 key considerations that such guidelines should address.
  • SAP Social Media Guidelines 2009 | SAP Web 2.0
    The following guidelines describe private, individual participation in social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, forums, YouTube, Flickr etc. for SAP employees. If your job requires you to be an SAP evangelist in social media channels and you have questions, or you want to establish social media channels on behalf of SAP or an SAP group, contact the SAP Social Media Group by sending a mail to [redacted]. For any other questions about social media at SAP, please visit the SAP-internal SAP 2.0 Community.
  • RightNow social web employee policy | RightNow
    These are the official guidelines for social computing at RightNow. If you’re an employee or contractor creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media these guidelines are for you. We require all who participate in social media on behalf of RightNow to be trained, to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation and employment at risk. RightNow has an open participation policy for all employees. The choice to participate in social media is yours. If you decide to participate, you are making a commitment to following these guidelines.
  • Intel Social Media Guidelines
    These are the official guidelines for social media at Intel. If you’re an Intel employee or contractor creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of Intel to be trained, to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge so check back once in awhile to make sure you’re up to date.
  • Sun Microsystems Communities: Sun Guidelines on Public Discourse
    Many of us at Sun are doing work that could change the world. Contributing to online communities by blogging, wiki posting, participating in forums, etc., is a good way to do this. You are encouraged to tell the world about your work, without asking permission first, but we expect you to read and follow the advice in this note.
  • IBM Social Computing Guidelines
    In the spring of 2005, IBMers used a wiki to create a set of guidelines for all IBMers who wanted to blog. These guidelines aimed to provide helpful, practical advice, and also to protect both IBM bloggers and IBM itself, as the company sought to embrace the blogosphere. Since then, many new forms of social media have emerged. So we turned to IBMers again to re-examine our guidelines and determine what needed to be modified. The effort has broadened the scope of the existing guidelines to include all forms of social computing.

Management and messiness

Clay Shirky

Image via Wikipedia

[Cross posted at FASTforward blog]

I’ve been mulling over Clay Shirky‘s remarks yesterday at FASTforward09. The bookends to his talk hint at some key challenges to managers contemplating their entry into the world of social media and Enterprise 2.0. Clay’s opening five word summary of Enterprise 2.0 is simply “group action just got easier.” While he shared a number of excellent stories and lessons, it was his closing discussion of how Amazon added social elements to its existing pages that I want to focus on.

By Clay’s count there are some 16 different social elements that are today part of the typical product page on Amazon. Each of these elements became part of the page as the outcome of an individual experiment. Amazon’s approach is to make it easy, and organizationally safe, to run experiments quickly and cheaply. While there is a technological component to making this experimentation cost-effective, it is the management and cultural aspects that are critical to success.

What Clay is calling attention to is the value to be found in encouraging the fundamental messiness and disorder of invention and discovery. Unfortunately, managers generally don’t become managers because they are fond of disorder. Even managers who have long ago abandoned the caricatures of command and control models are likely to find guiding this kind of innovation a source of discomfort. But it is discomfort that is essential to encouraging the sort of retail level innovation made possible in the technology environment that is emerging.

Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling once observed that “the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” That’s the mechanism at work at Amazon and with Enterprise 2.0 innovation in general. What Clay skipped over in his remarks was a look at the number of ideas that were tried and never made the cut at Amazon. This is unfortunate because it can encourage executives to ignore the “lots of ideas” prerequisite to “good ideas.” Amazon’s approach is sometimes portrayed as lowering the cost of failure. More appropriately, it is about lowering the costs of all experiments. While the technology environment is one factor in lowering the cost of experimenting, there are also managerial and cultural costs to manage. For example, if you insist on wrapping too much methodology and project management overhead around experimenting that will discourage ideas and fewer ideas implies fewer good ideas.

This is not a suggestion that there is nothing to manage. Instead, it’s about seeking just enough control. It’s also about becoming comfortable with trusting your people and the process of experimentation and learning.


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Social media experience at Mayo Clinic

PNG version of this image

Image via Wikipedia

[cross posted at FASTforward blog]

At last week’s Blogwell 2 conference in Chicago, Lee Aase from the Mayo Clinic shared their efforts to use social media to continue to share the Clinic’s message with the existing extended community tightly and loosely surrounding them. The Mayo Clinic has built a worldwide reputation over the course of many decades. Fundamentally, that reputation is a function of word of mouth. That makes social media in all forms a natural fit for Mayo.

They are working across multiple fronts included a fan page on Facebook, multiple blogs, a YouTube channel, and Twitter. At the conference, Lee announced their most recent effort, Sharing Mayo Clinic, which is intended as a place to share people stories about the Clinic and to serve as a hub around which other social media efforts and coalesce.

i was struck by a number of things in Lee’s presentation and Mayo’s overall efforts. First and foremost was the value of simply diving in and learning from their experiences. Coupled with that was the additional leverage found in thinking systemically. The heart of their strategy here is to find and share the human stories connected to the Clinic every day. The technologies serve as multiple ways to get the story out and Lee and his team (which is much smaller than I would have predicted) are smart enough to not get in the way of those stories.

For example, although they are making extensive use of video in their storytelling, they are using the Flip Video Camcorder instead of a more complex (and intimidating) video set up. What they are learning is that the Flip provides good enough production values and doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling. I suspect that there’s more craft involved than Lee let on, but not so much that it is out of reach for any organization that’s willing to make a few mistakes in the early stages.

Lee closed with an intriguing observation about the value of Mayo’s investments in social media. Here’s how he put it:

As I approaches 0, ROI approaches infinity

I suspect that the average CFO would be a bit suspicious, but there’s an important point here. The financial investments in social media can start at zero and don’t need to get terribly far away. The real investments are in organizational time and attention and what Lee and others are demonstrating is that those costs are also readily manageable. Answering questions about ROI does not necessarily entail using a spreadsheet.


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Blogwell 2 conference in Chicago – simple works

In recent years I’ve taken to avoiding conferences unless I find my way onto the agenda or some other active role. Too many conferences have become thinly and poorly veiled marketing exercises by sponsors who seem to believe that the participants cannot distinguish between substantive content and a sales pitch. Or perhaps don’t particularly care what participants think.

I broke my rule last week and decided to attend the Blogwell conference in Chicago, organized by Andy Sernovitz and the folks at GasPedal. Fortunately, Blogwell broke the rules as well and it proved to be a worthwhile afternoon that justified the investment of my time and attention. The conference design that made this work was trivially simple. The conference organizers collected eight users of blogs, Twitter, and other social media and let them share their stories. Some of them were good story tellers; some had useful lessons learned. A couple managed to combine both. But all did a good job of providing concrete reports from the field. There’s been a good deal of discussion during and after the conference on Twitter; the best way to track that is via Twitter Search.

Thanks to Andy Sernovitz and the folks at GasPedal for keeping it simple.


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Social media lessons from the Obama campaign

[cross posted at FAST Forward]

The Obama campaign was innovative on a number of dimensions, particularly with the use of social media and the effective leverage of committed volunteers. There’s been some good reporting that captures the ground truth of what the campaign actually did and some early efforts to make sense out of these facts in a way that offers lessons for those of us interested in their relevance to broader organizational and enterprise needs.

Use of social media

Effective use of engaged volunteers

Lessons for organizational design and strategy