Social Media Policies in One Sentence

Ok Ok…I know its guidelines not policies but I needed to get your attention! After all, I’m a convert. An evangelist. And I spread the word whenever I get the chance.

I’ll be spreading it later today at #HRD12 and next week at the Recruiting Through Social Media conference – and I know from past experience that the burning questions will be:

  • should we block employee use of social media
  • what does a good social media policy look like

The answer to number 1 is simple – DON’T! Because you CAN’T! Block their access on a work desktop or laptop if you want but you will only drive them under the desk and on to their phones.

And if you’re about to call out ‘Aha, it’s a company phone so we can block it on there too‘ (as someone did when I was presenting recently) then the answer is…they’ll have another phone! Unless you make them give up their personal number or phone (never a good idea) then they will still be able to access social media – it’s the new cigarette break/coffee break after all – and all that will happen is that you’re unlikely to have visibility of it.

And, of course, the rest of the world will know that you’re a company that tries to block access to social media. Not a desirable bit of ’employer branding’ in Business 3.0 or Recruitment 5.0.

Now what about a policy or guideline?

Keep it simple and if possible limit it to one sentence that means something everyone can understand and relate to.

Here are four of my faves that get regularly aired…

Don’t be stupid (Steven Ehrlich)

Don’t hire morons (Scott Stratten)

Don’t do anything that requires us to have a social media policy (anon – unnamed HR Director)

Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want to see on a giant billboard as you drive past with your mother, your boss and your biggest client (Scott Stratten, slightly abridged)

And here’s the one I recommend :

Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent


If you google that statement you’ll find it attributed to the late David Rocastle (gifted footballer for England and Arsenal who died tragically young) – and with that simple phrase he underlined how Arsenal give their players a sense of responsibility over their conduct and behaviour , reminding them of what is expected, yet treating them as adults .

I like it in the context of social media guidelines because it doesn’t start with ‘Don’t’ and because it gives a sense of wider responsibilities – not just those to your employer, but to your self, family, friends, profession etc

So that’s my favourite one sentence social media policy/guideline. Tell me yours…

One thought on “Social Media Policies in One Sentence

  1. “Your reputation stays with you longer than this job does!” As all the smart grown-ups know, banning social media to manage performance isn’t the answer. People will always have an excuse if they are poor performers, whether it be spending extended time on Facebook when you should working or banking or shopping online. Great read, thanks Mr. D

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