Do You Have a Personal Social Media Policy?

8 May

Recently, I read an article called What’s Your Personal Social Media Policy? Social Media Policy Thought Clouds Many companies have social media policies (some quite draconian, others pretty normal), but those are meant to protect the company’s image and interests, not the person’s.  In the article, Mike Brown discussed his own social media faux pas and how he’s developing a policy to prevent them in the future.

He started off by saying:

Googling “social media policy” returns nearly 5 million hits – obviously a topic getting lots of attention. Modifying the search to “personal social media policy” reduces the hits by 99%. That’s relatively scant attention to how individuals could or should formalize how we conduct ourselves personally across various social media channels.

In an era where people are building (and sharing) their personal brands online, your personal social media policy is important to consider, especially if you’re someone who’s in the business of selling/promoting yourself or your personal brand.

Mr. Brown presents a number of questions that you should consider in developing your own social media policy?

  • Can I explain who I follow / like / link to?
  • What specifics do you share about yourself?
  • What specifics do you share about others?
  • How often do you participate on social media channels?
  • What steps are necessary to deepen the level of interaction?
  • How do you put the brakes on heat of the moment responses?

Social Media Network IconsFor me, I think the first three of these questions are the most important.  I used to be much more discriminating about who I allowed to be my friend, be a contact on LinkedIn, etc.  But, now that I’m in the business of spreading the word (both about my company and about my own blog) I’m taking advantage of all social networks have to offer by tearing down the walls and block lists and letting everyone in.  But, opening up my social media has made me much more aware of what I’m posting, specifically what I’m posting about other people.  I’m not that private of a person, but I have friends that are.  Because of that, I’m trying to be hyper-aware of not oversharing.  (Of course, I’m probably failing on that point, but I’m trying!)

Mr. Brown asked his readers to share their own social media policies.  Here’s my answer:

Wagon full of social netowrking site logosI’ve always tried to impose social media boundaries on myself, but failed. I realize that I’m always going to end up violating them, so now I’ve just started using the approach that I should assume that everyone can seem everything and take that into account when I post/share/blog/. Previously I’d kept my Facebook, LinkedIn, and social media culture blog (maggiecakes.wordpress.com) all separate from each other and targeted different groups. Now I link them all together and just assume that my grandparents, boss, etc. will eventually make it to all of them.

So, do you have a personal social media policy?  What is it?


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new on the Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a whole new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

3 Responses to “Do You Have a Personal Social Media Policy?”

  1. joanna May 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    One of my policies is not to give too much contact info, past my email address. I also try not to include personal pictures. Or at least too many. I need to improve on that front. What IS it about the net that seems so harmless, at first thought, while, at the same time, frought with so many hidden dangers?

    • Mike Brown May 9, 2011 at 7:58 am #

      It’s an interesting idea Joanna to think about sharing “some” info, but not “too much” or “too many.” It’s not necessarily an “all or nothing proposition” to sharing online, but sharing some puts you much closer to “all” than “nothing.”

      My favorite tweet about this was from someone who said that when she didn’t use a hashtag on Twitter, she considered her tweet semi-private. That’s scary when people think they’re having a conversation others won’t see that, in fact, is completely open to others!

      • Maggie May 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

        Strange, but I do understand what she says about it being semi-private — I had a blog like that in college, but that was before people had followers and could be notified whenever someone did anything on a social media site. I guess it’s the whole thing about if a tree falls over in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound. If I post something, but don’t bring it to anyone’s attention, did I really share it?

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