It’s a good time to update existing policies to cover the increase in remote work and set clear expectations for employees about using social media during work hours.
Now that Twitter is the official platform for presidential policy making and TikTok has a new option for businesses, corporate social media policies are more important than ever. If you don’t have one, you need one. It’s also a good time to update existing policies to account for changing standards and the increase in remote work.
Eric Akira Tate, co-chair of global employment and labor at Morrison & Foerster, said that now is the time to establish or update social media policies as the US is in the midst of a civil rights movement and as companies make good faith attempts at education and improving the treatment of Black people in the country.
“Reviewing social media policies so that there are no misunderstandings about what use of social media is acceptable or not for an employer is all the more appropriate to do now,” he said.
Tate said employers should have policies in place to prevent employees from inadvertently or purposefully interfering with the employer’s desired image.
“A policy puts employees on notice of what conduct or use of social media is allowed and not allowed within the parameters of their employment and work for the employer,” he said. “It allows employers to have more consistent enforcement in the event of improper behavior.”
Kristin Johnson, vice president of content and communications at the social media management platform Sprout Social, said that having a policy in place can create a sense of autonomy for employees who run the accounts.
“By putting policies in place, teams have the opportunity to truly understand their role and operate within guidelines without the constant fear of putting your brand credibility at risk,” she said.
Johnson said another key component of rolling out a policy is explaining the “why” behind the policy.
“One thing to consider adding to your policy are some guidelines and processes for when to pause posting any brand content to ensure people are being respectful of the social climate,” she said. “Aligning social media policies with the organization’s larger communication approach now can help the team be more agile in moments that require quick adaptation.”
Adjusting your policy to cover remote work
Tate recommended reviewing existing social media policies to cover the increase in remote work.
“Employers should make sure that their social media policies are very clear on what, if any, social media usage is permitted while working, and the possible consequences should employees be found to be on social media when they are supposed to be working,” he said.
Companies should also make a clear distinction between work social media versus personal social media.
This is also a good time to remind employees that they should take the same care with social media activity at home as they do at the office.
“Being careful about taking selfies with computer screens or work papers in the background, for example, could inadvertently reveal confidential business information,” Tate said. “Siri and similar voice-features of mobile phones, can also be an inadvertent trap for unintended disclosure of confidential information.”
Finally, Tate suggested expanding the definition of social media to include video conferencing sites, given the amount of business happening in online chats at the moment.
TechRepublic Premium’s Social media policy is a good starting point for companies that need a policy. It covers requirements for employees using corporate social media accounts, guidelines for tasteful content, and monitoring rules. This policy also helps companies tailor the policy to fit a company’s specific situation.
Minds was launched five years ago, by Bill Ottman. Since then, the site has continued on in the shadow of the Facebook juggernaut. With a nod to irony, a large portion of Facebook users complain about the service on a daily basis. Some even go so far as to say they’d leave Facebook if only an alternative existed.
It seems that alternative does exist. Case in point, Minds is surprisingly similar to Facebook, in layout and features. Of course, Minds wasn’t a simple clone of Facebook. In fact, Minds offered much of what I’d mentioned in the piece mentioned above:
It’s open source and transparent
It offers free and paid accounts
It’s ownership and management enforce no political or social bias
User data is not monetized
It offers all the features users are accustomed to
They minimize hate speech, without infringing upon free speech
Minds also uses cryptocurrency that users can earn and spend. The earned tokens can be used to boost posts and a paid user account costs five tokens per month. The paid account earns users features like:
Inviting others to join the platform (referral link)
So my curiosity was piqued. I created an account and began to poke around. After a few days, I drew the conclusion that Minds could very well be that social networking platform we’ve all been waiting for.
To that end, I reached out to the CEO of Minds, Bill Ottman, to ask the questions that were on my mind about their site.
Bill Ottman: I have always considered it an absolute necessity and historical inevitability that a free and open source social network rises up to become competitive with the proprietary tech titans. The top global communication platforms of humanity need to respect the freedom and voice of the community, otherwise we end up where we are with a status-quo of surveillance, algorithmic manipulation, and exploitation. We knew we could not possibly be a sustainable network without building an independent social engine from the ground up, totally non-reliant on big tech APIs.
Jack Wallen: What is it that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are doing wrong?
Bill Ottman: There’s minimal transparency with regards to both governance and software. Proprietary software should not be acceptable from our top networks, as it is impossible to audit. Their content policies are essentially indecipherable, inconsistent and subjective. They prevent you from reaching your audience with hidden default algorithms We are not anti-algo, but believe users should decide if they want to use them or not. They pretend to care about your privacy, offering a number of visibility controls, but ignore the ability to be invisible from them.
Jack Wallen: What is it that Facebook and Twitter are doing right?
Bill Ottman: The UX and design is excellent. Clearly they have brilliant developers and product designers who are able to build out robust features from live streaming to messaging services all interoperating cross-platform. They have vast resources to make acquisitions and deeply understand the functionality that people want. Unfortunately the foundation of everything is upside down.
Jack Wallen: Explain, to the uninitiated, what sets Minds apart from other social platforms?
We try to push the boundaries with radical transparency with open source code and even financials
We are community-owned from an early stage with over 1,500 users who actually own stock
We have implemented revenue-sharing and monetization tools to help people earn money, both fiat currency and crypto
We believe that you should be rewarded for your contributions to the network and the engagement that you drive
We don’t require any personal information and encrypt any given
We want to minimize hate speech with free speech, not censorship. In fact, we launched a whole initiative about this at https://change.minds.com. Research shows censorship may in fact cause greater polarization and radicalization than facilitation of legal civil discourse
Jack Wallen: What made you opt to go the crypto route?
Bill Ottman: Prior to moving to Ethereum, we had a centralized virtual currency called points. This was one of our most popular features, as 1 point=1 view and could be used to Boost posts for greater reach, which people were losing on Facebook at alarming rates. You earned points for many types of engagement. Once Ethereum emerged we saw every reason to migrate the whole reward system to it, as this allows the token economy to become decentralized where users can hold their tokens in their own wallets and transact on-chain, which provides greater transparency as well.
Now, users can accept fiat (via stripe), Bitcoin, Ether, and Minds tokens which are ERC-20. The crypto community typically adheres to values aligned with internet freedom. You can’t and shouldn’t run everything on a blockchain
, but we are committed to the P2P route everywhere that makes sense and isn’t an impossible UX. Providing people with options and control is paramount. Do I want to publish this post to an immutable distributed system or not? That’s a choice we want to provide rather than forcing a particular path.
Jack Wallen: How will Minds deal with some of the issues that have faced other platforms such as hate speech and groups that espouse such speech?
Bill Ottman: We launched the Change Minds initiative with our advisor Daryl Davis, who famously deradicalized over 200 members of the KKK through open discourse, basically, befriending them. This human approach, based in free expression and civil dialogue, is much more aligned with our values and peer-reviewed research than blanket ban policies. The goal is to provide a breeding ground for changing minds via civil discourse as Daryl has proven can work, even if it takes years. We also built a jury system for the appeals process to bring the community into the moderation structure. Our approach is long-term and synced with the First Amendment. We care a lot about building tools for people to not see anything they don’t want to see as well as reporting truly harmful content. We think policies involving censorship should be data driven. What actually works?
My take on Minds
I’ve continued using Minds, but do find the small user base to be the one thing in the way of mass adoption. When new users create accounts, they might be hesitant to continue because of the lack of interaction. This is only because we’ve grown so accustomed to our social networking platforms being saturated with users. The easy fix for that is to have people join Minds and experience a Facebook-like service without all the issues that plague the platform.
If I’m being completely honest, Minds is superior to Facebook in all the ways it should be. If only Minds could entice the masses to migrate from their current social network of choice, I think Minds could easily usurp Facebook as the leader in social networking.
There are a few caveats. After doing some research, it seems there’s been (over the years) a number of complaints about unsettling content found on the site.
After some searching on the Minds, I did come across a lot of conspiracy theorists, the spread of a good amount of memes that have been debunked, a large amount of finger pointing that ventures very near hate speech, and although Minds allows NSFW posts, such content is blocked by default (users can opt-into NSFW content through their account settings). There are also a lot of complaints that the boost-via-tokens feature has severely limited how people can use the tool effectively, such as only allowing the use of five tokens every 24 hours.
Of course, these caveats could point to the users that are currently on the platform. Remember, a number of user groups have been banned from certain platforms, so it could be possible that those users have migrated to any site that they can gain access to. Minds could be one such site. With the platform’s mindset of “changing minds” and not blocking free speech, they almost put the onus on the user base to have civil discourse to reach some level of enlightenment.
The unfortunate reality is that a large number of users on social media platforms want nothing to do with civil social discourse, so it’s hard to say if the Mind model will work in the long run.
In the end, to those who’ve grown tired of how Facebook is run, I would recommend you head over to Minds, create an account, and see firsthand that a viable alternative does exist. Hopefully, if the user base grows, it can drown out any of the unsavory content to be found on the site and develop a robust platform for friendly and civil discourse.
Use caution, use kindness, use your mind on Minds.
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The use of social media to promote company business, provide customers with announcements and information, present upcoming milestone dates and otherwise interact with the public is now commonplace among organizations. From the smallest one-person shop to the largest multinational corporation, just about every company striving to turn a profit has a social media presence.
It’s not only companies which rely on social media; individuals also profit from these environments as well, either to promote their own private business or to utilize for recreational purposes.
Every employee has an opportunity to express and communicate online in many ways, and the organization encourages an online presence. But above all else, employees must use good judgment on what material makes its way online.
This social media policy from TechRepublic Premium applies to all employees, contractors, business partners, and other parties responsible for using social media in accordance with performing business duties for the organization. It also applies to the organization’s social media accounts themselves and personal or otherwise non-company-related social media accounts utilized by employees.