Publication Date: January 12, 2011
Markle’s work is firmly rooted in the belief that information and technology have great power to improve our lives. We promote the advancement of information technology in health and national security, and value the protection of privacy and personal freedoms.
In developing a set of guidelines for Markle staff who engage in social media, we strive to respect the distinction between a person’s private and professional identities and relationships in the virtual world. We must also be mindful of Markle’s standing and reputation, and the many important collaborative relationships we have cultivated carefully throughout the years.
These Social Media Guidelines describe acceptable online networking activity when you present yourself as a representative of Markle and are authorized to speak on Markle’s behalf. We encourage you to think earnestly about the power of your Markle voice, and hope you find these guidelines helpful as you engage in conversation in our increasingly connected world.
Public Discourse and Social Media
The types of public discourse addressed in these guidelines include (but are not limited to) the following types of social media:
- established online communities and networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- blogs and other open discussion forums
- collaborative information-building sites (e.g., knowledgebases and wikis)
- your own personal Web sites and blogs
Note that Markle also has guidelines in place for publishing your work in traditional media (e.g., journals, newspapers, books, other publications in print or online). Please refer to those guidelines for more information and see the document “FAQ on Copyrights and Intellectual Property” which we have compiled from the Web site ChillingEffects.
Your Personal and Professional Identities
The general rules for participation in social media by employees authorized to represent Markle are outlined below.
- Your supervisor will determine to what degree you are authorized to participate in social media on behalf of Markle.
- Your authorization may be limited to certain venues or topics, upgraded, expanded, or revoked by senior management at the recommendation of your supervisor.
- You may forward or share, but not opine upon, issues related to Markle’s work with friends and colleagues in your personal networks.
- If you maintain a personal blog or Web site, include the following disclaimer on your profile or “about me” page:
The views expressed on this [blog, Web site, etc.] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Markle Foundation, its partners, or collaborators.
- When you engage in public discourse on behalf of Markle and its work, remember that you are also speaking on behalf of the hundreds of organizations and individuals with whom we collaborate. Use these guidelines and use common sense when posting or publishing content as a Markle representative. In general, you should refrain from rendering an opinion on the material being posted unless you are doing so with the approval and permission of your supervisor.
- Identify yourself as a member of the Markle staff.
- Use your real name and title. Include this information in your profile and contact details whenever possible.
- Never pose as another person for purposes of spying on other individuals or organizations, or to promote Markle under the guise of anonymity.
- Obtain approval and seek specific guidance from your immediate supervisor before posting content or commentary on behalf of Markle.
- Notify Communications that you are representing Markle in a public forum. Provide the URL and the name under which your posts and commentary will appear. Cynthia will become your fan, friend, or follower on behalf of Markle.
- Make sure you have all the facts before you post or comment. On the Web, posting a correction or retraction after the fact is often of little use. The original content can remain and proliferate on the Web forever.
- If you must post a correction, do so visibly and quickly.
- Use the spell checker. Sloppy grammar and careless typing can undermine your professional credibility.
- Do not engage in public arguments with people who disagree with Markle’s point of view or the topic under discussion. Always take the high road.
- If you use or reference material authored by another person or organization, provide the proper attribution.
- Offer links to the original content, and indicate the name of the author(s) or organization(s) that created the work. Make sure you attribute the work to the original author, not the person or site that reposted the material. (See the FAQ on Copyrights and Intellectual Property for more guidance.)
- Get permission from your colleagues before writing about them.
- Do not use logos or other proprietary content without the permission of the owners.
- Strive to be a valued member of the communities you join. As you post relevant content in a timely and thoughtful manner, you build credibility and earn the respect of your fans and followers.
- Remember that Markle’s philosophical approach is to promote the success of our collaborative work and shine the spotlight on our partnerships. We do not want to appear self-congratulatory or self-interested.
- Do not disclose information that has not been specifically approved for public distribution. Be respectful of Markle’s and our collaborators’ secrets.
- Do not comment on legal matters on behalf of Markle unless you have been specifically designated by senior management as the organization’s official spokesperson.
- Do not post personal information that might be of interest to scammers and identity thieves.
- Be discerning about where you post contact information such as your Markle e mail address. Whenever possible, use the social media site’s internal contact system for exchanging private messages with other members of the community.
- It is better to engage regularly in a small number of communities than to have a fleeting presence in a vast number of social sites.
Respond quickly to your followers and be attentive to all of your discussion threads.
Markle maintains blogs to expand our online presence, proliferate our work, and build a community of followers. As a staff member authorized to use social media for Markle, you may be asked to participate as a contributor, monitor, or editor of a Markle blog. Please follow these general rules to guide your work in this area.
- Use the above rules of conduct and guidelines for participation as you would for participating in any form of public discourse on behalf of Markle.
- Be well-versed in Markle’s privacy policies when dealing with content contributed by members of the general public.
- Be knowledgeable about the Markle Blog Administration and Usage Policies.
Blog Monitors and Editors
- Notify the blog administrator immediately upon noticing or being informed of inappropriate or suspicious activity on a Markle blog.
- Seek guidance from the blog administrator in dealing with troublesome content or behavior.
- If you are editing content, be especially careful not to change the spirit or content of a contribution. Spelling and grammar corrections are acceptable, but do not rewrite a contributor’s comments.
- Keep in mind that our goal is not to censor participants who may disagree with our point of view, but to cultivate a professional and respectful community of valuable contributors.