Create Your Own Social Media Policy

On October 7, 2008, in public relations, by Barbara Nixon

How do you use social media?

Melanie McBride, a Toronto based writer-aggregator of education, technology, media and culture, wrote:

“Despite the popularity and widespread adoption of social tools, there’s little agreement when it comes to matters of our individual terms of use. Without a collective social contract for social media, many of us are left wondering: How do I define my own social policy? Until now, corporate social media developers are defining those policies for us. Some of us feel it’s time we defined social media according to our our own terms.

McBride posted a template, and encouraged her readers to “[Steal This] Personal Social Media Policy.” Since she has this licensed under Creative Commons, I’m sharing it with you here.

I challenge all users of social media, especially PR students, to adapt this template and create their own social media policies.


[a work in progress]

1. Connecting: Introduce yourself and tell me why you want to connect

[Would you like an introduction from new follows? Would you like them to answer a particular question about their interest in connecting? Define it here]

2. Follow, add, friend: [your subhead here]

[Your polices around friending, following and adding. For example, if people follow/friend you do you automatically reciprocate? Or do you prefer to evaluate the value of a contact over time? State it here, loud and clear]

3. Privacy, boundaries and safety: [your subhead here]

[Define your privacy/boundaries for friends, coworkers and family. Everybody has different ideas about what’s “too much information.” Friends, family and business associates have different ideas about who you are. While you may not be able to control what’s said about you, you can certainly ask your network to be mindful of your limits]

4. Signal to noise: [your subhead here]

[Do you have any strong feelings about the kind of social media experience you seek (or don’t)? For example, do you have a problem with people using RSS in their Twitter? Do you get annoyed by multiple status updates? Make that clear here (so people aren’t surprised when you unfollow them – or vice versa)]

5. Personal data and sharing: [your subhead here]

[What’s all this sharing about? (for you) Are you looking to connect more deeply according to shared interests, ideologies, professional goals?]

6. My networking needs and uses: [subhead here]

[How is your use of Facebook different from your use of Linkedin different from your use of Twitter different from your use of MySpace? What are your specific networking purposes or goals for each?]

7. Your criteria here: [subhead here]

[your policy, feelings, arguments here]

8. Your criteria here: [subhead here]

[your policy, feelings, arguments here]

Photo Credit: The Conversation Prism, o
riginally uploaded to Flickr by b_d_solis

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23 Responses to Create Your Own Social Media Policy

  1. […] That ended up being a lot longer than I expected, but there you go! Obviously I’m very private and compartmentalized in my social media uses, and I definitely think that reflects my personality. Thanks for reading! Find out how to make your own social media profile here. […]

  2. […] Original social media policy template located at Public Relations Matters […]

  3. […] Content credit goes to Melanie McBride, and also this webpage. […]

  4. […] Social Media template from:   Public Relations Matters […]

  5. […] I could improve my social networking .  I strongly encourage taking the time to visit this site and do some research of your own and take the time to fill in the questions. Share […]

  6. […] This week revolves around Social Media. I’ll be following the set of questions proposed on this site. […]

  7. […] — as requested — from Melanie McBride] 1. […]

  8. […] see: Our Data Ourselves: The Users Bill of Rights Social Media Template from: Public Relations Matters Tags FAQ, Policy, Social Media Categories Uncategorized LikeBe the first to like this […]

  9. […] as a guideline to conducting ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (yeah, right), and so forth. Melanie McBride writes: “Despite the popularity and widespread adoption of social tools, there’s little agreement when […]

  10. […] This is something that is up to the user to decide, but I find different networks are more useful for different things. Facebook is good for staying in touch with people you know personally. Twitter is better for getting useful links to websites or blogs. Blogs themselves, depending on the author, can be for an interesting read or something more informative. There are a couple of blogs I check on a regular basis (example: They can be handy. Knowing what you expect out of a certain social network can help you decide your own social media policy. […]

  11. […] If you would like to create your own social media policy you can learn more at […]

  12. […] Blog #8 My Social Media Policy July 10, 2010 1liz2blog Leave a comment Go to comments Creating your own Social Media Policy […]

  13. […] Create your own Social Media Policy […]

  14. […] Create your own Social Media Policy […]

  15. Megan Piper says:

    check out my blog 🙂 coming soon, by midnight- I thought it was due at 12

  16. Lindsay Cameron says:

    I just uploaded my response on my blog :

  17. Allie Burrow says:

    My response is on my blog!!!

  18. zoe says:

    This is fabulous!

    There is such a blur between the lines of work and personal life (especially in this industry) that it’s good to set clear boundaries that you are comfortable with.

    Also, there are so many different ways to play with the tools that are given to us that it’s helpful to others to know where you stand. I wish every blogger had this posted clearly; it would certainly help me when i do outreach!


  19. […] Create Your Own Social Media Policy (details coming soon) […]

  20. Melanie — thanks for visiting! I’m actually making the Social Media Policy the final blog post assignment in one of my classes.


  21. Melanie says:

    Thanks Barbara! I hope people will mix and remake this as it suits them. As I’ve said before, it’s not a set of rules for others to follow but our own statement about what works for us. It’s just a way to make clear how each of us wants to use social media – since there are so many differences between us that can lead to personal and/or professional misunderstanding.