Rules of Engagement

Just how prevalent and meaningful has the “gibberish” of your Twitter stream or Facebook wall gotten? There are a lot of companies – both large and small that are creating policy for their employees about how they are expected to conduct themselves.  Not only conduct on “official” Twitter pages or Facebook fan pages, but extending that expectation to personal social media accounts.  And you know what-its a good thing.

I can tell you from personal experience-it was pointed out to me that at one point my Twitter stream (and downstream of that my Facebook wall) had gone too far.  And I appreciated that little heads up and I have modified my behavior since then because social media (even personal accounts) are and extension of our selves (as our jobs, families, background etc).

I did a quick Google this afternoon of the term “Twitter policy” and I came up with rules about the way NFL players can Tweet, guidelines for NBA players, rules governing social media for ESPN employees and tips about how to create policy and some blog comments about policies that have been implemented.

I did a quick read through some of the memos that have found their way to the internet–and there are varying degrees of regulation.  The important part though is no one flat out banner Twitter.  Some of made it a little more generic what can be Tweeted or posted–but the conversation is open, and the sides are engaged.

And that is a good thing, it’s about time.

Once those rules of engagement are open for discussion, implementation and modification an end goal is in sight.  Once the use of social network is defined-employees can begin to implement policy and reach the goal.

For a long time, social media has been an experimental ground-drive brand awareness, drive consumption, drive something.  But the scale to measure impact has not been there.

Now it is-and rules legitimize it.

Yes, it would be great to have the wild-west mentality and just a straight up land grab for every inch we can get.  But that’s not the way business works in 2009.  Business is as much about image and awareness as it is about customer loyalty quality.  Those business needs extend beyond company websites and official destinations–and now that conversation is engaged.

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