Monday, March 16, 2015

Social Media Policy..

As a group we are trying to find out the appropriate  social media policy for our project work. As I have gone through some documents in this regard, I thought it would useful to share with all of you about my views on this aspect. Some aspects have already been explained by the professor on this particular issue.

Social media policy represent the official position that governs the usages of social media tools by the employees in any government department or agencies. The policy defines the ‘rules of engagement’ and put boundaries or  distinction around official use and personal and professional uses of the social media.  I  find the Institutional Arrangements is the core of the any social media policy.  The social media tool are only authorized for the use of official purpose only. No personal or professional interest are allowed to be pursued by using the government tool or social media platforms.

Government recognizes the enormous potentials of IT and has a vision in place to empower the people of India.  The government is already using the e-governance as tool to deliver its services to the people and making it's functioning transparent and efficient. The department of Information Technology functions at central and state government level for all round implementation and monitoring of the IT policy. There are various policies in existence with regard to IT Security and Audit.

The social media is distinct from the traditional media from two different way-first its ability to generate contents by the users and its viral ability leading to reduced control over spread of the information or data. These two characteristics necessitate to have a policy in place, which can facilitate clarity for employee at the one hand and could also provide direction for the department/agency on how to address potentials legal and regulatory issues.

Thus, the policy represents the governance structure of the social media as measures of control. The rules and regulations already exist for the governance of the traditional media, the policy for the social media could be devised based on that. The privacy policy, archival policy, Content contribution, moderation and approval policy, Content review policy, security policy, monitoring and contingent management policy are already in place for website management issued by the Government of India from time to time. 

Governance Structure is the second important pillar of the social media policy. The government Structure is needed to ensure the legal, technology, human resource and program related issues and its adjustments with changing goals and objectives of the organization. The team will also responsible to review the existing policies to ensure the proposed policy are not in contradiction to existing policies. The dedicated team and its roles and responsibilities for creating, managing and responding on the social media platform must be clearly defined. They must be accountable for the maintenance of ID and password, data security, archives and privacy. 

There are 8 core elements have been identified-such as employee access, account management, acceptable use, employee conduct, content management, security, legal issues and citizen conduct. The governance of the account is the key for proper management. It can be managed by allowing limited number of employee at the level of supervisors and above only. As per the existing IT policy, the organization have to have  a designated system administrator to oversee these issue and administer official accounts of the social media sites. The proper record of the password and userid must be maintained by the designated official and multiple people could be authorized to post on social media sites on behalf of the agency.

As per the extant policy on website use, it is clearly laid down that the official sites could only be used for the official purpose and not for the personal use. As far as employee’s conduct is concerned, they are already governed by the government code of conducts in terms of employee behaviors which is also applicable while communicating through social media sites. As per the social media framework, following core values have been identified while using social media for official purpose:
  1. Identity: Mention about your role and disclaimer
  2. Authority: No comments unless authorized 
  3. Relevance: Comments only those parts relevant to your areas of work
  4. Professionalism: Be polite, respectful and no personal comments
  5. Openness: Not necessary to respond each and every comments
  6. Compliance: Ensure no infringement of relevant rules and regulations, Intellectual Property rights and Copyrights , etc.
  7. Privacy: Not to reveal personal information that could be misused by others

I will continue to share further details in next blog as my work is yet to be finished …..

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