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Social Media Guidelines

Sat, Apr 08, 2017 @ 10:21 AM / by Chuck Lohre

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(This week's post comes from the world of Burning Man, I went last year and learned a lot about how a community uses and polices social media. Just ran across this video of the Astec Dancers by fellow Earth Guardian Camp volunteer Martin Cline and on further research ran across their social media policies. I wanted to copy them here as an excellent set of guildlines for any company wanting to define their social media use for both their benefits and rules to prevent inproper use. Enjoy.)


These pages contain the Burning Man Project's policies, protocols and guidelines for the online activities of our staff and close volunteers, including the usage of official Burning Man email addresses, email lists, and social networking services in general.
 
As a staff member or volunteer for the Burning Man organization, you are expected to read and understand these policies.  Any questions or concerns about them should be directed to your manager, or to the Burning Man Communications Department.
 
1 Social Media Guidelines For Burning Man Staff
2 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Regional Email Lists
3 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Aliases and Email Addresses
4 Best Practices in the Use of Burning Man Email Lists
5 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Email Lists
 
Social Media Guidelines For Burning Man Staff
Last Update: December 2014
 
Burning Man recognizes that many of our staff members and close volunteers participate in social media services for their own personal use -- and often, to talk about Burning Man and their experiences within this culture. We feel this contributes to a richer voice about our culture, sharing an important story that we very much want to see accessible in the world.
 
And so to help you, our culture's leaders, to engage in with social networks and online communication without inadvertently causing any undue harm to the Burning Man Project or your fellow Burners, we've crafted a set of basic guidelines for for social media, including:
 
·       Scope of Social Media
·       Personal vs. Professional
·       Who Are You Speaking For?
·       Who Are You Speaking To?
·       Basic Personal Conduct
·       Employees: Using Social Media at Work
·       What To Say? What Not to Say?
 
Scope of Social Media
Social media includes websites and services that facilitate interaction and conversation between people online. This includes social networking sites (Facebook, Tribe, LinkedIn, etc.), content on media sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube, etc.), blogs, microblogs (Twitter, etc.), web comment sections, forums, wikis, and social areas of a website.
 
Personal vs. Professional
You're generally encouraged to be mindful of and responsible for how what you say will reflect not only on you as an individual, but Burning Man as an organization and a culture. Because of the hazy line between the professional and the personal when it comes to being a part of this organization, even "unofficial representatives" online can reflect on us all and hamper our ability to fulfill our mission.
 
If you use a pseudonym, you should assume that some people know who you really are. Be transparent about your connection to the organization where appropriate.
 
Who Are You Speaking For?
If you're saying something from your own perspective or stating your personal opinion rather than speaking officially for Burning Man, it's never a bad idea to specifically state that. Typically, you should not consider yourself a "spokesperson" for Burning Man, and sometimes (such as moments of crisis)? Definitely leave it to the spokespeople.
 
Who Are You Speaking To?
It's best to assume Burning Man's worst critics, biggest fans, your supervisor, your coworkers, and your mother all likely have the ability to access what you write online, even if you're not directly "connected". Never underestimate the velocity with which information jumps across networks.
 
Basic Personal Conduct
Your actions online should reflect Burning Man's values as presented in the Ten Principles, our Mission Statement, and all written policies for email list and alias usage. Walk the talk with how you behave, as well as what you say.
 
Employees: Using Social Media at Work
It's between you and your manager to determine when / how much use of social media is appropriate during work hours, and/or when you should engage with social media in pursuit of your responsibilities.
 
What To Say? What Not to Say?
We trust you to exercise common sense and good judgment in your communications. If ever you're not sure about something, check with your manager or Communications.  Here are some thoughts:
 
-       Don't Know? Don't Answer. If somebody's asking a question, and you're not sure of the answer, there's nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know," -- but there's a lot wrong with perpetuating speculation or rumormongering. Refer questions to somebody who knows the answer if you don't.
 
-       Confidential Information. Never disseminate proprietary or confidential Burning Man information (things like unannounced policy changes, legal issues, and ongoing litigation). If you're not sure it's confidential, err on the side of caution, and check with your manager or Communications.
 
-       Know Your Facts. While you might *think* you know something, there could be something in play you're not aware of, or a recent internal change. Ask around if you're not absolutely sure.
 
-       Tell the Story. Feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities or anything that's publicly observable or not proprietary to your role. Telling stories is how Burning Man's values are shared in the world.
 
-       Personal Privacy. It's common courtesy, before mentioning co-workers or other individuals involved with the Project, to check in with them to assure they're okay with being mentioned by name in association with Burning Man.
 
-       Don't Feed the Trolls. Avoid engaging trolls (people who bait you with inflammatory statements to get a reaction), or participating in a flame war. Even if you "win" you lose. Burning Man is a widely misunderstood discussion topic, and negative PR and misstatements abound, but sometimes the best response is just to let them die out on their own.
 
-       Don't Be *&$%# Offensive. If you use offensive or inflammatory language, you'll be perceived as offensive or inflammatory, and the rest of Burning Man will be too.
 
Once posted, social web content can stay in play and affect perceptions for a very long time. Think before you hit "Send".  Any questions, concerns or ideas can be addressed to Burning Man's Communications Team.
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Regional Email Lists
 
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines about acceptable use of Regional Burningman.org email distribution lists for sending and receiving email messages and attachments, or any Technology Department resources thereof. The policy describes the standards that users are expected to observe when using Burning Man Regional Announcement and Discussion lists for email, and ensures that users are aware of the consequences attached to inappropriate use of these resources.
 
Further, this policy serves to advise the users of those guidelines to provide a framework wherein users of these lists can apply self-regulation to their use of these resources.
 
1. Email groups are established for Burning Man Regional Contacts to utilize to organize local Burning Man communities and enable Burners to maintain a cultural connection to one another online. All email to a group should be consistent with the purpose of the group, and used to accomplish tasks related to and consistent with the values of the Regional Network and the Burning Man Project at large.
 
2. Burning Man's Technology Team, Regionals Team, or Regional Contacts/list managers may restrict access to these lists where there is reason to believe that laws or Burning Man policies have been violated. Unacceptable use of email lists includes:
• Use of email to support any inappropriate commercial advertising or for-profit activity unrelated to the Burning Man Project or the Regional Network.
• Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be ignored/deleted.)
• Failure to use “OT” to designate off-topic posts, or abusing the option of occasional “OT” posts.
• Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
• Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive.
• Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
• Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
• Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
• Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
• Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
• Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community.
•  The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks.
• Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
• Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
• Use of email lists to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner, or to create separate lists for secondary or outside purposes.
 
3. List moderators and owners will monitor the use of these lists to ensure that the above-listed guidelines are met.
 
4. Managers will also act to restate the purpose and mission of each list on a regular basis to ensure that all members maintain an understanding of said purposes. Moderators will be responsible for assuring that new members are advised of those missions and of these stated policies, and monitoring the list for adherence to the above-outlined regulations and policies.
 
Misuse of Burningman.org Resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the Regional Committee at Burning Man, who will collaborate and/or work with the local moderator to execute appropriate action or response.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Regional Contact role; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action. 
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Aliases and Email Addresses
Last update: December 2014
 
This Burning Man alias (yourname@burningman.org) and email address policy exists to provide guidelines for acceptable use for the purpose of sending or receiving email messages and attachments via a Burningman.org email address or alias. The policy is also designed to specify the actions that Burning Man will take in the investigation of complaints received from both internal and external sources about any unacceptable use of email that involves Burning Man’s technological resources.
 
1. Unacceptable use of said resources may include:
a)   Use of email to support any commercial advertising or for-profit activity.
b)   Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be forwarded to list-request@burningman.org for review. If the content of the email is determined to be real and should be distributed to the Burning Man community, the Technology Department will take appropriate action.)
c)    Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
d)   Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive. (Note: A user may not “unsubscribe” from lists used by Burning Man for official purposes, unless the user is separating from duties and affiliation with that group.)
e)   Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
f)     Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
g)   Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
h)   Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
i)     Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
j)     Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community.
k)   The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks.
l)     Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
m)Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
n)   Use of aliases to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner.
o)  Burningman.org email addresses and aliases are given for the purposes of representation of the organization for official purposes. They are not intended as “perks” and are limited in distribution to those whose roles require them to represent the organization accordingly. As such, users should bear in mind that when composing email from said addresses, one’s words can and are perceived as representing the organization, even, at times, when one claims to be expressing one’s personal opinion. Email users should take care to not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of Burning Man or any team thereof unless they are expressly asked to do so. At times, statements such as the following disclaimer may be appropriate: “The opinions or statements expressed herein are my own and should not be taken as a position, opinion, or endorsement of the Burning Man Project.” 
 
2. Email resources may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that such use does not:
 
p)   Directly or indirectly interfere with the operation of computing facilities or email services.
q)   Interfere with the email user’s employment or other obligations to the Burning Man Project.
r)    Violate this policy or any other applicable policy or law, including but not limited to use for personal gain, conflict of interest, harassment, defamation, copyright violation, or illegal activity.
s)   Email messages arising from such personal use shall, however, be subject to access consistent with this policy and applicable law. Accordingly, such use does not carry with it a reasonable expectation of privacy.
 
3.  If a user has been requested by another user via email or in writing to refrain from sending email messages, the recipient is prohibited from sending that user any further messages, until such time as he/she has been notified by the appropriate manager that such correspondence is permissible. Failure to honor such a request shall be deemed a violation of this policy.
 
4.  If, due to latency, departure, or dismissal, a change in the user’s status with Burning Man occurs, email or alias privileges may be revoked at the sole discretion of Burning Man. This includes when the affiliation between the user and Burning Man comes to an end, by any circumstances.
  
Misuse of Burningman.org Resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the appropriate supervisory level for the team in which the violation occurs. Violations will be processed by the appropriate managers, and/or law enforcement agencies as necessary.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action.
 
Alias Format
In order to promote consistency, professionalism and eliminate confusion, all new email addresses and aliases going forward in 2014 and beyond will follow this format: first.last@burningman.org
 
This policy doesn't apply to those who've already been assigned first name or playa-name aliases. Those already existing first name/playa-name email addresses are grandfathered and won’t have to be changed except in cases where, in the transition of email addresses from burningman.com to burningman.org, a duplicate exists. Then an evaluation and change to a first.last@burningman.org email address may occur.
 
Exceptions going forward may be made on a case-by-case basis for year-round staff with outward-facing customer service positions in addition to their internal roles. Examples of this could be those in the Communications Department, HR department, playa staff, or anyone else who has community-facing responsibilities.  Any questions can be directed to your department head, who will make the final call on allowing first name or playa name aliases. 
 
Best Practices in the Use of Burning Man Email Lists
Last Update: December 2014
 
1 DO NOT send attachments to a Burning Man list. Attachments should be put on the Ultranet, and linked to from there.
2 Use the letters "OT" to indicate something is "Off Topic", meaning it's personal, or about a non-Burning Man-related subject.
3 Headers should reflect the subject of your email. In the midst of a long debate, check to make sure your header still reflects the subject you're talking about.
4 Avoid cross-posting to multiple lists. When people begin to "reply to all" posters from other lists will bounce, forcing the moderator to open every attempted post to ensure it's not actually from someone on the list who might be posting from another email address. One suggestion would be to post separately to each list, but indicate you've cc:ed the other lists at the top of the body of the email.
5 If you hit "reply" to an email, you will be replying to only to the original sender, and not the list. You will need to hit "Reply to All" if you wish to reply to the poster AND the list. When you hit "Reply to All", it's also good form to remove the email address of the original sender so they don't get two replies.
6 Do not EVER take a private email sent to you and put it on a public discussion list without permission of the original sender. This is basic internet etiquette.
7 Remember ALL CAPS means you're yelling, and we don't need to do that to family and friends on a Burning Man discussion list.
8 Don't be mean to each other ... take it off list. No one wants to see others arguing in public.
9 It's very easy to dissect a person's email point by point, and in some cases this is the best approach. Sometimes summarizing your thoughts at the top can be speedy for you and for the reader.
10 Rather than including all large number of email addresses in the CC: field of a message, use the BCC: function if you must send an email to any group over 20 people that don’t know each other.
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Email Lists

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines about acceptable use of Burningman.org email distribution lists for sending and receiving email messages and attachments, or any Technology Department resources thereof. The policy describes the standards that users are expected to observe when using these resources for email, and ensures that users are aware of the consequences attached to inappropriate use of these resources.
 
Further, this policy serves to advise the users of those guidelines to provide a framework wherein users of these lists can apply self-regulation to their use of these resources.
 
1 Email groups are established for Burning Man committees, departments, and special projects. Email to a group should be consistent with the purpose of the group, and used to accomplish tasks related to and consistent with the Burning Man mission.
2 Burning Man’s Technology Department may restrict or suspend access to these lists where there is reason to believe that laws or Burning Man policies have been violated. Unacceptable use of email lists includes:
i Use of email to support any commercial advertising or for-profit activity.
ii Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be forwarded to list-request@burningman.org for review. If the content of the email is determined to be real and should be distributed to the Burning Man community, the Technology Department will take appropriate action.)
iii Failure to use "OT" to designate off-topic posts, or abusing the option of occasional "OT" posts after being given feedback by list manager.
iv Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
v Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive. (Note: A user may not “unsubscribe” from lists used by Burning Man for official purposes, unless the user is separating from duties and affiliation with that group.)
vi Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning  Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
vii Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
viii Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
ix Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
x Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
xi Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community. 
xii The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks. 
xiii Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
xiv Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
xv Use of email lists to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner.
 
     3.  List moderators and owners will monitor the use of these lists to ensure that the above-listed guidelines are met. They will also serve to re-examine list membership each year. Membership to each list is restricted to active members of that team, except as membership may be defined by an emeritus or consultant status; therefore, lists will be culled each year to ensure that membership is limited to those who have an active role in the missions of the team or of Burning Man. 
     
     4.  Moderators will also act to restate the purpose and mission of each list on a regular basis to ensure that all members maintain an understanding of said purposes. Moderators will be responsible for assuring that new members are advised of those missions and of these stated policies, and monitoring the list for adherence to the above-outlined regulations and policies. 
 
Misuse of Burningman.org resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the appropriate supervisory level for the team in which the violation occurs. Violations will be processed by the appropriate managers, and/or law enforcement agencies as necessary.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action.
 

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If you liked this you might like to learn more about how effective industrial press conferences are at major trades shows.
 
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Topics: Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Social Media Guidelines

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Written by Chuck Lohre

Owner of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications. The company celebrated their 80th Anniversary in 2015, his 38th.