It appears that a specific topic has reared its head once more in DeMolay - the use of social media and how it reflects on the organization. We've covered the perils of social media on this blog before, in a couple of different ways, so I'm not going to spend a lot time discussing the specific things one should do to be safe on social media. Rather, I'd like to take the time to approach this from a "corporate" standpoint and address how organizations are managing this area.
Often, we find that the ideals an organization hopes to engender with their social media policies often end up at odds with the real world. It's great to outline a hard line policy, but how you put those words into effect (or fail to do so) can make or break a company or group. I did a little internet search and found some good resources that discuss these problems, that I wanted to share.
First, we have an article entitled "16 Social Media Guidelines Used by Real Companies." These are VERY good starting places for anyone looking to manage social media within an organization. They are realistic and set the correct tone. A company can't expect to completely control the behavior of its employees when they aren't at work, but asking them to be sensible and not impugn the company in their daily life is fair.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have some of the polices outlined in this article, "5 Noteworthy Examples of Social Media Policies." Some of these companies are a little stricter - and quite frankly nuts. I don't know of anyone who is going to put a disclaimer on every social media post, stating that this is their own view and not the view of the company they work for. That's just silliness.
The best article I found was this one, "10 Social Media Policy Musts." In the article, the author outlines the 10 things that a social media policy should try to cover and explains why they are important. I would encourage DeMolay International, DeMolay Jurisdictions, and even Chapters to consider all of the points in this article.
As a former HR wonk, I have to point out one important detail that none of these articles discuss - the fact that a policy has to exist to hold someone accountable. I spent several years working in HR. I learned, rather quickly, that you can't hold an employee to a standard that has not yet been set. If an employee finds a loophole, you just have to let it go and set a new standard that addresses the issue. Making a martyr out of one person in a crusade to dissuade further behavior only looks bad for the company and puts you at risk for legal action. I experienced this first hand with an employee incident that I managed, and learned a lot from. That's all we can ask of ourselves and our leaders - continue to learn and grow!
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony