The past two years of learning more about how blog comments work have led many bloggers and companies to have a Blog Comment Policy to set the ground rules for the online conversation. Blog World Expo’s blog asks “Does Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?” Good question.
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?
I see two issues here. One is that a company should have a social media policy, outlining how employees should handle themselves in the blogosphere, whether or not they are blogging as a representative of the company. The other is that maybe all bloggers should consider developing their own social media policy to protect themselves when they behave and interact online.
Just as our blog comments are mini-resumes of ourselves and our blogs on our blog and others, all your online behavior should represent you well. Have you given thought to how others perceive you across the entire social web?
What you do off your blog can reflect heavily upon your online reputation. Recently, I wrote about a person I found being rude and inconsiderate on Twitter and made a decision to remember his name as I didn’t want to ever do business with him, only to wake up the next morning and find he’d left a comment on my blog. An innocuous comment, but still an open door of opportunity for a relationship I didn’t want.
I judged this person based upon watching his abusive Twitter rants and raves. Does this judgment mean he acts like this all the time? Probably not, but I’ve learned the hard way to look for clue a person will repeat similar behavior in the future. They usually do when you least expect it.
We all need to let off steam once in a while, but our behavior is now public. It’s no longer a foot-in-the-mouth experience between you and two or three other people. It’s now foot-in-the-mouth exposure on YouTube. You can’t just apologize to a couple of people. There’s a world out there waiting for you to dig your way out of this hole.
How you behave on the web goes beyond responding to a negative reaction to a blog post. It reaches into Twitter, comments you leave on Digg, Facebook, Delicious, Friendfeed, and other social networking and bookmarking sites.
Twitter is especially insidious in this respect. I now have a lot of people following me on Twitter and I use Twhirl currently to track the tweets. Twirl has brought a world of disconnected conversations into my life. I’m only seeing one side of the conversation – not even a side, just a fragment.
I see a lot of off-handed comebacks, digs, and – what my god son used to call “neener-neener” – snide and snarky remarks. I have no idea what they are being cynical about as I only see the verbal equivalent of the thumbs in the ears and the fingers wiggling to frame scrunched up face and tongue sticking out, not the entire context. I see a lot of emoticons for :P on Twitter, the shortcut equivalent of tongue-sticking-out. Based upon these little useless fragments, I could make a lot of assumptions about the intelligence of some of my followers. Do you?
Everything we do on the web now defines us. Have you thought about that? Really thought about it?
If everything you do online is public, shouldn’t you have a social media policy, a policy that defines your actions and reminds you how to behave online to ensure your reputation stays clean and beneficial?
What would it look like?
Author: Lorelle VanFossen
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.