Module 5 Social networking and information policy

Information policy

Policy is intended to control activity and guide it in directions which are desired for political, social, economic or professional reasons

Policies may be very broad statements of vision or more specific in the form of strategic plans. A policy will often include:

  • goals and objectives, that is, what it is intended to achieve
  • methods by which the various parts of the policy are to be implemented (procedures)
  • where responsibility lies for implementation
  • details of time schedule, resources and any other aspects relating to implementation

Did you know video – changing media landscape and convergence of technology

  1. The mobile device will be the world’s primary connection tool to the Internet in 2020.
  2. Digital ads growing rapidly
  3. Traditional news channels are dying
  4. Impacts on services
  5. Ebooks are becoming popular

Within the context of impact of social media on individuals, organisations, and society, in general, the following information policy issues are gaining prominence in the eyes of governments and policy-makers:

  • Intellectual property, copyright and emergence of the Creative Commons
  • Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs
  • Information access for all, adequate bandwidth/wireless/mobile connectivity and the ‘digital divide’
  • Regulating the Internet in libraries, organisations and in the home
  • Information and digital literacies, and recent emergence of transliteracy
  • Acceptable use/online behaviour/social networking policies

Valenza, J. (2008). When YouTube is blocked (way more than eight ways around), NeverEndingSearch [blog] 19 December. Available

YouTube is the world’s major video portal. It has terms and conditions for use and it is important to educate our users the ethical and legal issues regarding accessing digital content from such sites. Checking YouTube terms and conditions I found it is against YouTube’s terms of service to download ‘or rip’ videos from their site. It is important that we promote digital citizenship to the next generation of adults and find safe ways of gaining access to technology.

Yes blocking access to such as useful information resource is very frustrating if there are no other alternatives available to users. But it is important for all stakeholders to understand the value of social media and develop policies that enables the responsible use of social sites. The number of videos uploaded to YouTube is growing rapidly. It has a mix of good, bad and ugly but that does not mean access should be blocked. YouTube has some great educational videos and students and staff must have access to these. It is a matter of discussion and debate with the administrators to expose the usefulness of such a powerful video resource. And it is free and available 24/7.

Media policy for schools

Requires the development of a social media strategy – how it will be used, and  why?

How to monitor and reinforce, do we need a different one for students, staff & administration, how to evaluate social media tools, examine existing policies ( posted to Delicious)

Some key items

1 What is social media and how will it be used

2. Confidential information

3. Responsibility for what is written online

4. What happens if the policy is violated

Social media policy is a strategic document of an organisation.

When developing a policy consider:  all stakeholders, focus on behaviours, review existing policies, use reference documents available, draft it and get legal opinion.

There are considerable challenges of finding authentic information in a socially networked world.

How trustworthy is the information in Wikipedia, and social networking sites such as Facebook?

An area of concern regards the credibility of content and the future of research and how social media will shape this.

Social media is changing the way we work, offering new models to engage with customers, colleagues and the world at large. This kind of interaction can help build stronger, more successful business relationships and enables organisations to take part in global conversations related to work.

Examples of information/media policies – posted on Delicious.

Key issues in these policies looked at the social, cultural, ethical, educational and legal aspects. Technical and management issues, privacy and confidentiality, trust.

National Library of Australia – Social media statement from their website

These guidelines are intended to provide clarity to employees on how to conduct themselves in the emerging world of social media.The National Library of Australia embraces the use of social media as a corporate communications and community-building tool. The Library encourages every employee to express themselves and communicate online in many ways, such as through social media, professional networking sites, blogs, and personal web sites. However, all employees need to use good judgment about what material appears online, and in what context.


OLJ Task : Five key points for a social media policy

A social media policy is a strategic document for any organization. So it is important to get input from key stakeholders in developing the policy. Fleet (2009) suggests involving Senior Management, Marketing/PR, IT, Human Resources, and the Legal branch.  Whilst his guidelines are aimed at the corporate world, libraries and information services could adapt these to include Library Management, IT, HR, Marketing/PR, teaching staff and relevant library staff and the legal branch.

Five key points for inclusion in a social media policy could be:

  1. State the purpose of the policy and define what is social media means to the organization. Address the different types of applications such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other emerging technologies (Kroski, 2009). The policy should be framed on things that internal staff or students can do rather than what they cannot do using social media. Establish guidelines to manage risks and protect internal employees and external clients. Consider who your audience will be so all groups are examined when writing the policy. Keep the policy short and focused so users will be able to access it easily.
  2. All contributors should take responsibility for what they write, exercise common sense and sound judgement (Lauby, 2009) and be guided by the code of conduct. Whatever material is up on social media needs to be age appropriate, ethically sound and portray the view of the organisation to benefit existing and prospective clients.
  3. Respect copyright and fair use of materials by encouraging all contributors to acknowledge any original work posted. Through ethical and legal use of materials a positive tone will be created for the overall use of social media and the interactions that will follow.
  4. Understand the concept of community as social media is about connecting and having a conversation with your community. The content and tone must be positive so online experience is pleasant and valuable for all parties. All parties must respect each other’s privacy and maintain confidentiality.
  5. Productivity matters – within a work environment it is important for staff to know the guidelines for using social media during work time whether for study purposes, professional development or personal use. For students guidelines need to be established as the appropriate amount of time spent on various forms of social media. Finding the right balance between social media use and work will safeguard organizational and personal productivity.

Social media is ubiquitous and establishing a policy that sets the boundaries and empowers employees and clients’ use of the various social media tools will contribute to a positive social networking experience for all.  Many organisations already have existing communication policies and social media policy can evolve from these. For social media policy to be effective there needs to be some staff training to leverage the benefits.  As new social media tools are emerging rapidly the policy must be revised frequently so the guidelines are consistent with new technology developments.


Fleet, D. (2009, 18 October). Social Media policies [e-book]. Retrieved from

Kroski, E. (2009). Why should your library have a Social Media Policy? Retrieved from

Lauby, S. (2009, 6 February). 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy,[web log]. Retrieved from