A lot has been written about the Wall Street Journal's (somewhat paternalistic) social media policy and the one being hashed out at the New York Times, as well.
Smarter people than me are weighing in, but I think I might be able to add something to this conversation, since I'm training the staff at The Gazette on using social media.
My two-line social media policy:
If you're using an account for work purposes, identify yourself as an employee of The Gazette.
If posting something would embarass you or the company, or call your professional reputation into question, DON'T POST IT.
That's it. I give out pages of best practices, too, but those two get to the heart of the issue. Just as we would have never in the past expressed a political preference, we should refrain from doing so now. if it seems like common sense, it kinda is, but it still bears repeating.
The biggest issue people seem to be taking with the WSJ policy is that it shuts down transparency. It forbids staffers from discussing how a story was reported, written or edited. Bad advice, and among the reasons so many newspapers are failing at social media. When there was one edition a day, the story was all that mattered. Now, reporters need to be transparent at all stages. How they source and write the story is important, and so is the discussion afterward.
Rather than grasping and trying to control something (since no one's been able to control falling readership or declining revenue), newspaper executives need to trust their reporters, calm down and embrace social media.
I can't close any more eloquently than Patrick Thornton did.
Just use common sense, and common sense says not being social on social media doesn't make much sense at all.