CIO’s Social Media Review and Approval Processes

A post on Mashable from a year and a half ago is still relevant to enterprise CIOs grappling with the impact of social media on the enterprise. In the post, Lon S. Cohen lists seven things CIOs should be considering. We’re taking a closer look at each of the item in Cohen’s framework. In this blog, we consider look at Cohen’s second item.

  • Web 2.0 Content and Presentation Standards
  • Review and Approval Processes
  • Managing Corporate Reputation
  • Versions and Update Controls
  • Impact On Operating Environment
  • Establishing Project Priority
  • Compliance

Social Media Processes

As part of your social media strategy, CIOs should consider what policies should govern the enterprise’s social computing use. The first thing that might occur to you when you think of social media policies are those that control who speaks and what they say.

Yes, social media usage policies that control who and what are important. But policies, practices and procedures laying out how to speak may be even more important. Don’t assume that because your employees are social-media-savvy that they know best how to be evangelists for your enterprise. The following, excerpted from our Community Building Checklist chapter in our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (being slowly syndicated via this blog), can help you as you think through your social media processes.

  • Establish, in writing, best practices and procedures
  • Ensure staff is on message
  • Empower staff to be proactive and participative
  • Position community as means to engage, not a distraction
  • Create Rules of Engagement
    • What to do with negative content
    • What to do with negative members (more later)
    • What to do with staff that blabs
    • Study how the US Air Force deals with various types of community members, in the next figure

      Air Force Web Posting Assessment Flowchart

      Figure 85 — Air Force Web Posting Assessment Flowchart[1]

  • Decide whether to hold employees and other community members personally responsible for content they publish
  • Decide how staff should Identify themselves in posts
  • Decide if staff members who post elsewhere should add a disclaimer to their posts: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent [Organization’s] positions, strategies or opinions.”
  • Encourage all members to respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws and set penalties for non-compliance
  • Confidentiality: Decide whether to prohibit citing or referencing clients, partners or suppliers without their approval
  • Create a linkback policy for material reposted from other sources
  • Create a prohibited language policy restricting hate speech, ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity
  • If you are regulated, ensure all employees understand what can and cannot be said online
    • Understand the legal ramifications of creating a public record or a public meeting by discussing topics online
    • User-Generated Content (UGC) may need to comply with policy, copyright, trademark
    • May need to treat information as part of records subject to retention policies
  • Be careful out there: Some laws may restrict your ability to censor employees online:
    • Political Opinions
      • Many states, (such as California) prohibit employers from regulating their employees’ political activities
      • Unionizing
      • In many states, talking or writing about unionizing is strongly protected; union contracts may permit blogging; states may protect “concerted” speech — protecting two or more people who discuss workplace conditions
    • Whistleblowing
      • Many may believe reporting regulatory violations or illegal activities online is protected, but whistleblowers must report problems to the appropriate regulatory or law enforcement bodies first
    • Reporting on Your Work for the Government
      • Government workers writing online about their work is protected speech under the First Amendment except for classified or confidential information
    • Legal Off-Duty Activities
      • Some states may protect an employee’s legal off-duty blogging, especially if the employer has no policy or an unreasonably restrictive policy with regard to off-duty speech activities
    • Reporting Outside Social Media Site Memberships
      • Some organizations require employees to report other places where they contribute online
    • Set Guidelines for At-Work Social Media Use
      • Most enterprises believe at-work use of social media saps productivity, but some studies find just the opposite.
    • Review the following policies for ideas for your social media policy:[2]

    Our next post will take a look at Use Social Media to Manage Corporate Reputation.

For soup-to-nuts, strategy to execution processes, procedures and how-to advice, see our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

  • [1] Air Force Web Posting Assessment Flowchart v.2 (PDF):

    [2] See for a great list of social media usage policies:

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