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D’Avis: Social media policy not just a set of rules

February 13, 2011

Photo by John Williams

By David Hon

Tim D’Avis from the Quad-City Times delivered a presentation on how to establish a social media policy for a newsroom staff.

D’Avis started the session by saying that presentation was about rule setting or in some cases not setting rules.

As a general metaphor, D’Avis said that the best way to act on social media is like if you’re at a party. While you may be talking to your friends, keep in mind that your mother and your boss are an earshot away.

D’Avis then went on to explain The Washington Posts’ policy on Social media. After showing an excerpt of their policy, D’Avis said that their policy is more about what you can’t do, than what you can. He also said that their policy basically asks staff members not to act like real people online.

D’Avis also used the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as an example for establishing a policy for staff using social media. He said that the Post-Dispatch had a superior policy mainly because they set realistic principles rather than a set of rules.

Difference in language

Washington Post:

  • “Should not”
  • “No place for”
  • “Avoid”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

  • “Keep in mind when you”
  • “We encourage your participation”
  • “It is our expectation that”
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