Social Media Policy

Effective Date: July, 2011

Purpose

This policy governs the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling and its related programs (“CERIC”). For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, Wikipedia or other wiki’s, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, Flickr and YouTube.

This Social Media Policy applies to all programs under CERIC and all related staff.

Definitions

CERIC staff means all employees, contractors, board members and committee members. CERIC programs include ContactPoint/OrientAction, The Canadian Journal of Career Development and Cannexus.

Policy Statement

Social media identities, logon ID’s and user names can only use CERIC’s name with prior approval from the General Manager. Otherwise, CERIC employees are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy.

All social media accounts, blogs, Web pages and related content carrying the CERIC brand identity and its programs are and will be owned and licensed by CERIC as appropriate. Personal accounts, blogs, Web pages and relatedcontent that do not carry the CERIC brand identity and its programs can be owned, licensed and operated by any CERIC staff. However, any and all use of CERIC’s name, logo and/or related marks requires prior, express, written consent of CERIC. If CERIC is referenced in any media, all social media guidelines apply.

This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the Internet.

Scope

Generally, these guidelines set forth in this Social Media Policy should be applied to any online medium where information may reflect back on the image of CERIC, any CERIC staff and its partners. This Social Media Policy applies to all forms of social media. These guidelines also apply to any comments on CERIC’s postings on message boards/forums, opinions on online polls or any product/services CERIC might author.

Most conversations on social media platforms are held in an informal manner, so strict application of the CERIC Style Guide is not required; however, professional discourse is expected. Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary.

Guidelines

1. The Internet is not anonymous, nor does it forget

Everything written on the Web can be traced back to its author one way or another and very easily. Information is backed up often and repeatedly, and posts in one forum are usually replicated in others through trackbacks and reposts or references.

2. There is no clear line between your work life and your personal life

With the ease of tracing authors back from their posts and the amount of information online, finding the actual identity of a poster from a few posts and a screen name is not impossible. This creates an avenue for outside parties to link your personal writings to those you’ve done in a professional capacity. Always write as if everyone knows you. Never write anything you wouldn’t say out loud to all parties involved.

3. Don’t promote other brands with our brand

Do not promote personal projects or endorse brands, causes or opinions when posting from a CERIC account. Be sure to respect third-party copyrights. If a personal opinion is posted, clearly state to all readers that it does not represent the opinions of CERIC.

4. Maintain confidentiality

Do not post any confidential or proprietary information in regards to CERIC or its programs (e.g., privileged stakeholder or financial information). This also means that the personal information of the employees and other individuals associated with the services that we are delivering to our stakeholders (e.g., partners, career practitioners) should be protected.

5. Don’t pad your own stats

Do not create anonymous or pseudonym online profiles to pad link or page view stats. Also, do not comment on your own or another’s posts to create a false sense of support.

6. Always trackback

When reposting or referencing a post on one of CERIC’s online sites, provide a link to the original post or story.

7. Identify yourself

When relevant, identify your affiliation with CERIC and your area of concentration. This will add credibility to your profile and CERIC’s profile/communications and will increase the visibility of CERIC and you personally.

8. Comply with copyright laws

It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others, including CERIC. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to others’ work rather than reproduce it.

9. Be respectful

The public in general, and CERIC’s employees and stakeholders reflect a diverse set of values and points of view. Don’t say anything contradictory or in conflict with the CERIC web site. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (offensive comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of potentially sensitive topics such as politics and religion.

10. Use a disclaimer

Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice. Wherever practical, use a disclaimer saying that while you are affiliated with CERIC, anything you publish is your personal opinion.

11. Respond to your own mistakes

If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly.

12. Do not return fire

If a negative post or comment is found online about CERIC or yourself, do not counter with another negative post. Instead, publicly offer to remedy the situation through positive action. Seek help from the General Manager in defusing these types of situations.