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School District Proposes Social Media Policy for Teachers

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Teachers Social media policy

After the English Teacher at a Philadelphia high school was suspended for things she said about her students on her blog, it made schools take a closer look at their policies and propose a social media policy.

The teacher has since won her court case and is allowed to teach again, but the whole situation definitely taught the schools that they need a more detailed policy for teachers to follow.

Tuesday night, the Central Bucks school board in Pennsylvania proposed a new social media policy.

It bans teachers from posting anything online that is “disruptive to the educational process”, as well as “provocative” statements or photographs. It also prohibits “online activities that would jeopardize the professional nature of the staff-student relationship.”

Some other interesting ideas proposed were not allowing teachers to call or text students, or emailing them from a personal account.

Over the next few weeks and months, the school board will ask for input from teachers, students and parents before anything is passed.

What are your thoughts on this new detailed policy? Does your child’s school have one that you know of?

Teacher Faces Termination For Complaining About Students on Facebook

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Facebook

You know you’re supposed to be careful what you say via social media, right? So, why is it that some people still write controversial things and try to justify it in when they’re called out on it? Case in point:

Last year veteran Brooklyn teacher Christine Rubino took to Facebook to vent her frustration with her unruly fifth-grade students.

After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts,” Rubino updated her status in reference to the shocking death (from the previous day) of a local Harlem girl who drowned on a class trip to the beach.

A Facebook friend replied, asking “Wouldn’t you throw a life jacket to little Kwami?

Her response? “No, I wouldn’t for a million dollars.”

A fellow teacher copied the comments and showed them to the school staff. Six months later (December, 2010) Rubino was told that officials had accessed her Facebook account and her job was in jeopardy. And now she’s in the midst of termination hearings.

Rubino admitted it was something she said out of anger. “I would never take my class to the beach. I would never hurt them.” She also maintains the online outburst was private — unseen by pupils or parents. I get that sometimes people need to vent. But still. As a parent, how would you feel?

We’ve said it time and time again. You need to be careful what you say via social media. You need to put together your personal social media policy. Just because you can post something doesn’t mean you should. It’s accessible. It’s out there for the world to see.

And, really, the city Department of Education needs to put together a social media policy to avoid future problems. Currently they have none, but have fired at least three educators last year for improper contact with students on Facebook.

Do you think she should have been let go?

Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business

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As more and more companies and businesses jump into social media – creating Facebook fan pages, adding Twitter accounts, and joining LinkedIn groups –

it’s important to create a social media policy to hand out to your staff and employees. Whether it’s a quick and easy guideline to follow, or a full set of instructions, businesses should set this in place early on to help employees understand what is acceptable when representing the company in the social media space.

Ideas to consider in creating a social media policy include:

  • Identify the purpose of the social media account(s). Will you be promoting products? Engaging with your customers? Obtaining feedback?

  • Establish the tone of all accounts. Are you going for a professional or conversational tone? Set guidelines for what is appropriate vs. what will embarrass the company.
  • Include everyone. Especially in larger organizations – include all departments in the guidelines and conversation.
  • Establish company accounts vs. personal accounts. Determine if you want your employees to create a new account specific to the company. This will help draw the line between tweeting about beer runs vs. a company luncheon. Another suggestion is to have your employees tag their Tweets with the company name if they are talking business.
  • Keep it confidential. Reiterate your confidentiality clause – it should stand true for social media as well.
  • Define Ownership. Define up front who owns what accounts and what happens if an employee is let go or leaves the company.
  • Establish a Responsibility List. Sometimes employees will receive complaints, questions, or concerns in their personal accounts, once they establish where they work. Put together a quick list of answers or accounts for them to direct the consumer in a timely fashion.
  • Revisit and Revise. Social media continues to evolve and change. Your social media policy should as well! Set dates to revisit and revise your document for redistribution.

Want to read a sample? Check out IBM, Intel, or the Mayo Clinic!

Want to share your policy? Include a link and I’m happy to add it to the list!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Does Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?

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According to Canadian Business (which surveyed 16 executives from various companies) companies are lacking in the social media policy department.  What if an employee is spending company time on social networks?  Does the employee need to identify himself as an employee on his social networks if he is talking about the company?  Are there any rules in general regarding social media usage at corporations?

According to the article:

“Effective policies do not include an overload of details, but succeed in giving the employee a clear idea of what the company is trying to avoid, such as any activity that could result in damage to the firm’s brand or reputation.”

I think this is the best way to approach social media from a policy standpoint.  A corporation is not going to be able to limit the amount of tweets someone sends out a day, how many blog posts they write, or how many times they update their facebook status.  Nor will a company be able to allocate a “social media” time allowance, such as 30 minutes a day.  Essentially a corporation can do 2 things, ban the social networks all together, or (as mentioned above) explain to the employees the types of situations that the company is trying to avoid.

Social networks are only growing more and more popular so how does a corporation deal with this phenomenon?  How can a company monitor or find out about every single blog or twitter account that the employees own?  As of yet, I have not seen an effective way for companies to monitor or track social network usage, either you allow it or your don’t.

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