Social Media Definition
For the purposes of this policy, the term “Social Media” refers to forms of electronic communication through which members create online communities or forums to share information (such as ideas, messages and other content). This can be done through blogs, discussion forums and other social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
All social media efforts for [LODGE NAME AND NUMBER] conducted by its members and officers on behalf of the lodge fall under the jurisdiction of the lodge’s Executive Committee, which shall have the final determination over all social media efforts and the policies laid out in the following document.
In an effort to maintain a succession plan in the event of membership/officer changes, all passwords and usernames for the various social media tools shall be provided to the lodge president.
Members/officers may not disclose any personal, confidential or proprietary information about other members, [LODGE NAME] lodge, Sons of Norway, its affiliates, vendors or partners. In addition, because Sons of Norway is constantly creating new projects, programs and benefits at the international level, the lodge is required to get approval from Sons of Norway HQ prior to releasing information or details about organization-wide subjects within social media channels.
As a member/officer of and representative for Sons of Norway within the social media sphere you will be expected to adhere to the following policy:
- Follow all applicable Sons of Norway policies
- Always abide by the ethics policies set forth by Sons of Norway
- Headquarters and the lodge and live the mission/vision of the organization.
- Refrain from objectionable or inflammatory posts.
- Do not post anything that is false, misleading, obscene, defamatory, libelous, harassing, hateful, abusive, threatening, or embarrassing to another person or entity.
- Consequences for violating of this section of the policy will be determined by the lodge Executive Committee
- Don’t speak for Sons of Norway.
- Members/officers are not authorized to speak officially for Sons of Norway and may not be authorized to speak on behalf of the lodge.
- Act responsibly and ethically
- When participating in online conversations or communities do not misrepresent yourself. If you are not an International Board officer, HQ staff member, etc. do not represent yourself as one.
- Be professional, accurate and honest
- One of the worst things you can do online is to build a reputation for being unprofessional or dishonest, because it can have wide ranging negative affects. Errors, omissions or unprofessional language reflect poorly on Sons of Norway and may result in liability for you, your lodge or the organization as a whole
- Use good judgment
- Always think before clicking the send/submit/post/etc. button. Consider whether the information is appropriate to the audience, is it in-line with the official messaging, does it misrepresent any facts (intentionally or otherwise), etc.
- If you are ever in doubt, don’t post it. Instead, contact the appropriate lodge officer or HQ staff member and discuss it further.
- Abide by the law and respect copyright laws
- Ignoring copyright law can leave you, your lodge and Sons of Norway vulnerable to legal action.
- Never take/use/post content written/recorded/created by someone else and try to pass it off as your own. Always be clear that it belongs to someone else.
- Whenever possible, ask the individual who created the content for permission to use their content. At the very least, cite their name/username/location where the content was obtained.
- Be yourself
- Each person’s individuality is something that should be celebrated. Let your own personality shine through when using social media that’s part of its attraction.
- Add value
- Part of what makes social media so unique and enjoyable for millions of users is the community aspect, where users bring new and interesting information to the community to share. This adds value for everyone participating, so always look for ways you can add value to the conversations happening.
- Be mindful of the permanent memory of the internet
- It’s been shown that no matter how hard you try, once content is uploaded to the internet it will exist FOREVER somewhere, be it on a public server, private workstation, etc.
- Keep this in mind before posting anything to the internet because if you make a statement you might regret later on, there could be lasting repercussions.
- Be a scout for compliments and criticism
- Social media is all about community and conversations. We want to be part of them, so always be on the lookout for mentions of Sons of Norway in the various social media sites you frequent.
- Always disclose your affiliation
- This is important because if you do not disclose your affiliation/relationship with Sons of Norway right away it can reduce your credibility.
- State that it’s YOUR opinion (IMHO)
- Whenever commenting on issues related to Sons of Norway or its subsidiary brands, it is a good idea to preface your statement with IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) unless you have been authorized to speak in an official capacity on behalf of the organization.
- Another way to approach this issue, in cases of blog posts or longer online communications, is to state that “the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer”
- Write in the first person
- Always write in the first person for credibility. Use “I” statements, rather than “we”.
- Use a disclaimer if you post a comment outside Sons of Norway channels, publish a personal blog post or share an image that has something to do with your work at Sons of Norway.
- In cases where you are weighing in on issues related to Sons of Norway with an opinion, use a disclaimer like the following: “the views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sons of Norway”
- Get approval before announcing any company news via social media tools/sites
- Never “break news” or make the first announcement of any company news without receiving the appropriate approval. Here again, if you are ever in doubt about how to proceed, don’t post anything. Instead, contact a lodge officer or the correct HQ staff and discuss the matter further.
- Be the first to respond to your own mistakes and take responsibility
- Often in the social media arena people post comments/content that contains mistakes, factual errors, or inappropriate content. If you are ever party to this, it is your responsibility to take responsibility for the errors and make appropriate amends (correcting information, apologizing in cases where others were offended, etc.)
- Let subject matter experts respond to negative posts
- This is self explanatory. In cases where a discussion is occurring about a subject which you are not knowledgeable, please defer comments to one of the many experts available on staff.
- If you think that the expert might not be aware of the discussion, please make them aware immediately.
To download a PDF of this policy, click here.