I have in my possession the Navy Command Social Media Handbook, Fall 2010 edition. How I came about said document is classified. I can tell you I did not acquire it climbing Jacob's Ladder nor snooping through Davy Jones' Locker.
Actually I just saw it posted on Twitter... :)
This 17-page dogma covers virtually all aspects and scenarios when it comes to Social Media and how the US Navy expects its personnel to act when in "social circles."
It may come as a surprise to some but here's what the US Navy thinks of Social Media:
"While implementation by the services is ongoing, the intent is clear -- the use of social media in DoD (Department of Defense) is authorized and encouraged."
Translation: They throw a caveat in with the use of the word "ongoing" which means "things could change in an instant." But that's actually a good thing because as we all know, things do change in an instant in the world of Social Media.
As to the specific content of the document, I will surely not review each and every section but I will touch on some key points that quite frankly can AND should be applied to all businesses and individuals alike.
"Informal groups such as "The Facebook Group Against Another Uniform Change in the Navy," exist and may draw some of your Sailors and personnel into joining. As long as they do not undermine their chain of command, or otherwise conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner, there is nothing wrong with them connecting with other people on subjects of mutual interest and in fact their participation in groups such as this might provide you valuable information on their thoughts and concerns."
Every company, large or small, should have something to this effect in their Social Media handbook or whatever cutesy title they want to bestow on it. "Undermine" and "unprofessional manner" are the key words/phrases for sure.
"REPLACE ERROR WITH FACT, not argument, if you are engaging someone else online. If you see an error or misinformation, correct it courteously and factually but do not engage in a heated argument."
Do not confused engage with enrage. There is absolutely a decorum, or at least there should be, in the Social Media forum. Wait, wasn't that a Marx Brothers movie, Decorum in the Forum? Never mind... You get my point.
"ADMIT MISTAKES. If you make a mistake then admit it and correct it immediately. If you do edit a posting online, make it clear that it has been updated or edited -- don't just try to make a change and pretend you never made the error. If people can't trust you to own up to your own mistakes you will lose credibility."
Wow, is this a biggie. This just in: We are ALL human. We ALL make mistakes. Admit it. Correct it. Move on. Period.
"Establish expectations for your Sailor's behavior online, set the example for them to follow and hold them accountable for their actions online just as you would do elsewhere."
If you are in any kind of leadership position within your given company and you engage others via social media, guess what? You have to set the example for others to follow for if you don't... And accountability is paramount for without it...
KEEP CLASSIFIED AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION SAFE by educating your personnel not to discuss critical information.
Every company, regardless of size or industry has information that should be kept private. Yet in the WikiLeaks world we find ourselves in, the word "private" has taken on a whole new meaning. I would add to this line the word "re-educating your personnel" because doing it once won't cut it
A diverse team managing the page will be more effective than a single person. A single manager is a single point of failure.
In the context of a business, replace the word "page" above with "the company's social media presence and it makes it perfect sense. You can't have one person be everything Social Media and expect to be successful.
I could go on but I won't. You can download the document yourself right here.
So, what do you think? Not bad for a government organization, huh? Of course I am sure they had someone "from the outside" help in writing this but nevertheless it's encouraging to see that the Navy endorses Social Media and accepts the fact that it's become a part of ALL of our lives.