Social Media Policy

Does anyone have any helpful tips on how to craft a social media policy that is generally accepted by crew members? Or any examples of current social media policies in place by your companies?

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Like No dick pics? Or more like No cell phone use while on watch?

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No, that’s a personal electronics policy. A social media policy is talking about how you represent your company online.

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Correct - company representation and matters pertaining to sharing photos that may picture product in tow etc.

DRAFT SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
[THIS POLICY IS BEING PROVIDED AS A COURTESY ONLY TO AID IN DRAFTING AN
APPROPRIATE POLICY FOR YOUR COMPANY. THE STATE OF THE LAW IS IN FLUX AT THIS TIME
AS TO THIS TYPE OF POLICY AND, THEREFORE, NEITHER THE PROVIDER OF THIS POLICY, NOR
THE ELA INTENDS FOR THIS POLICY TO BE RELIED UPON AS CURRENT, LEGAL, OR EVEN
APPROPRIATE – AND NOTHING IN THIS POLICY IS INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. ]
Purpose
_________________ Company (the “Company”) recognizes the importance of social media as a
communication tool. We are committed to maintaining a good relationship with our
employees, clients, suppliers and the rest of the outside world. The way the public views the
Company is vital to promoting business, gaining new business, recruiting and retaining quality
employees, and marketing our products and services. To that end, employees may use social
media, such as participating in a blog, chat room or online social network, for approved
business reasons during working time. When doing so, this policy applies.
Some employees also maintain or participate in personal blogs, personal websites, bulletin
boards, or other interactive web media, including LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube
(herein collectively referred to as “social media platforms”). Employees may elect to post
information about the Company, its business, its products and services, the workplace or other
Company employees. When doing so, this policy also applies.
All Company employees should understand there is a legal responsibility involved with using
social media platforms. Though employees are free to post their own personal views on social
media platforms, employees should know that some of their social media use may lead to
irreparable harm to the Company, its employees or other third parties, or may violate certain
Company policies and standards. Moreover, use of these sites may violate the rights of others
when untrue, defamatory or legally protected information is posted. This policy is intended to
balance the Company’ duties and legitimate business objectives with its employees’ rights and
responsibilities. The intent is not to interfere with an employee’s protected rights which the
Company understands may, include, engaging in certain social media postings related to
working terms and conditions.
Employees should also keep in mind that once information appears online, it can become part
of a permanent record, even if the author later “deletes” it. Everything written on the Web can
be traced back to its author, often very easily. With this in mind, follow these general
guidelines:
Draft Social Media Policy

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    General Guidelines
    Disclose your affiliation: If you discuss work related matters that are within your area of
    expertise or provide information related to the Company’s products you must clearly and
    conspicuously disclose your affiliation with the Company.
    State that it’s YOUR opinion: Unless authorized to speak or conduct research on behalf of
    the Company, when commenting on the business include a disclaimer that the opinions
    provided do not represent the views of the Company. To help reduce the potential for
    confusion, you must include the following notice in a reasonably prominent place on your
    site, or if posting on the site of another, you must include it within your post: “The views
    expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of
    my employer.”
    Personal Information: Be careful about what personal information you share online. Be
    cautious when mixing your business and personal life.
    Act responsibly and ethically: When participating in online communities related to the
    Company’s business, do not misrepresent yourself. It is never acceptable to use aliases or
    otherwise deceive people.
    Respect diversity: Avoid communications that are defamatory or harassing, or remarks that
    would contribute to a hostile work environment (racial, sexual, religious, etc.) as well as any
    behavior not in agreement with the Company’s general corporate policies or core values.
    Be professional and exercise good judgment: When you identify yourself as an employee of
    the Company within a social network, you are connected to other employees, clients, and
    potential clients. Communicate online with respect for others. Remember that information
    shared via social media is generally public information that could easily be viewed by our
    employees, clients and suppliers. Exercise caution with regard to exaggeration, colorful
    language, guesswork, obscenity, copyrighted materials, legal conclusions, and derogatory
    remarks or characterizations in any way related to the Company, its products, services,
    clients, suppliers and employees.
    Confidential/Proprietary Information: Confidential, proprietary, and non-released
    Company, supplier or client information must stay out of social media channels. This
    includes but is not limited to information about trademarks, upcoming product releases,
    sales, finances, Company strategies, and any other information that has not been publicly
    released by the Company, supplier or client.
    Company Trademarks: Never use the Company’s logo, trademark or proprietary graphics
    or photographs of the Company’s products for non-business related purposes without
    permission.
    Protect Yourself: Never share information about the Company, your co-workers, our
    suppliers or clients, or our competition that could be considered as harassing,
    threatening, libelous, or defamatory in any way. Do not disclose contact or personal
    information of other employees without their prior permission.
    Employment References: All requests for employment recommendations or
    references should be handled in accordance with the Company’s standard practice
    for handling such requests. Do not solicit recommendations in any form whatsoever
    from other employees. Do not provide employment recommendations or
    references unless authorized to do so by the Company.
    Draft Social Media Policy
  • 3
    Personal Use: Use of social media for non-Company business should not be conducted on
    Company time. Limit your personal use of social media to non-working time, such as breaks
    and lunch periods. Be careful not to let personal social media use interfere with your job
    performance or the performance of others.
    Monitoring: The Company reserves the right to monitor employee use of social media that
    uses Company assets; e.g., Company work computer, as well as the right to monitor
    comments or discussions about the Company, its employees, clients, suppliers and the
    industry, including products, services and competitors, posted online by anyone, including
    employees and non-employees, whether posted within or outside the workplace.
    Therefore, employees should not maintain an expectation of privacy with respect to use of
    social media that uses Company assets or with respect to public, online communications
    involving the Company, its employees, client, suppliers, and the industry.
    Images: Do not post images of the inside of Company facilities without expressed written
    approval from senior management. Do not post images of any Company property, including
    (but not limited to) machinery without the express written permission from senior
    management.
    Wage/Compensation: Hourly employees should not speak on behalf of the Company or
    engage in work on behalf of the Company during non-work hours without prior
    management approval.
    Plagiarism/Copyrights: Do not claim authorship to something that is not yours. If you are
    using another party’s content, be sure they are credited for it in your post (giving credit is
    not the same having permission to use a third party’s content. Giving credit does not
    absolve liability under copyright law and contradicts our existing copyright policy).
    Negative posts: Do not respond on the Company’s behalf to negative posts about
    the Company, its products or employees. Instead, inform your manager and Market
    Services.
    Consider Other Company Policies and Standards: Anything posted or sent by an
    employee on a social media platform is subject to all other Company policies,
    guidelines and standards.
    Disciplinary Action
    Employees are responsible for adhering to the aforementioned social media guidelines.
    Failure to comply with the guidelines in this policy or on-line activity that otherwise cause
    harm to the Company may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination
    of employment, as permitted by law.
    Important Notes
    The Company will not defend you in any legal actions based on your commentary on any blog
    or other social media platform under any circumstances, whether you are sued by another
    Company employee, a client, a supplier or someone who is not affiliated with the Company.
    The Company is committed to ensuring that we participate in social media in the right way.
    The best advice is to approach online worlds in the same way we do the physical one – by
    using sound judgment and common sense, by adhering to the Company’s core values and all
    Draft Social Media Policy
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    applicable Company policies. If you find yourself wondering if you can talk about something
    you learned at work – don’t. For situations in which you are uncertain about how to
    respond, or for additional questions regarding the social media policy, contact Human
    Resources.

It is, I think, necessary in this day to have a policy of some sorts. It can be a nuanced topic though.

It can be beneficial from an unmeasurable moral standpoint to allow crew to post pictures from on the job, since it is such an integral part of their life and can be a source of pride.

If there is concern over protection of cargo that could be a straightforward guideline for what is not permissible to be photographed/shared.

It becomes a bit blurry when there is an incident. I’ve turned off internet/WiFi onboard before at the clients request following a fatality to ensure the local news didn’t find out before the poor soul made it ashore. One post on Facebook could have lead to a nightmare for families onshore.

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@tbrown

You don’t say how big of an outfit you work for or what type of clients your company services but you might want to check with your clients for copies of their social media policies so you know you are meeting their standards. If their standards are too stringent & you don’t want to copy theirs at least put a section in yours stating that your employees will know & follow the clients social media policies. I mention this because the ship I’m on now had a guy transferred off a few years ago because he posted pictures of research being done that wasn’t supposed to be made public until the researchers had their t’s crossed, i’s dotted & papers ready to publish. His excuse was, “I didn’t know, nobody told me?” It made the company, Master & ships crew look bad. We curse that idiot every voyage because now we have to sit through the same training & sign the same stupid social media paperwork for the client every time we come back to work.

Social media policy is simple with most companies. They can and will monitor anything you say on social media. Its a public platform. Anything you say may be used against you As an employee your free speech is limited. Unless you are a member of a union you are an “employee at will”.

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Employees are generally considered “at will ” employees. At- will means that you or your employer can terminate your job on a moment’s notice for any reason , whether good, bad, indifferent or for no reason at all.

Don’t accept friend requests from office personal

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Or shipmates…

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Don’t drink and do facebook at the same time.

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And keep all Facebook posts friends only.

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Unless you are a member of a union. Even then in the USA unions have been so weakened as to be ineffective in protecting employees. In other countries employee unions still work to protect workers they even have, by law, a say in the management of the company.

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This policy as written, contains many implied but not explicitly stated situations where the company reserves the use of retaliatory measures (including dismissal) for employees who speak their mind. The policy as written does not stop at the workplace as the company reserves the right to intrude in the free speech of the employees when they are at home or off duty. Nullifying your constitutional rights should not be a condition of employment. This policy as written shows the necessity of unions in the 21st century.

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I’m for free speech as much as the next guy. I love apple pie & the 4th of July too. But if an employee of mine exercises his right to talk shit about me I think it’s my right as a free person to fire his ass. Where in the US Constitution does it say you must employee someone even when you no longer trust them or want to employee them? If my wife starts a catering business & an employee is on Facebook talking shit about the business & trying to undermine her business, she’s going to fire that individual. Why wouldn’t she? It would be ridiculous not to. If we were the type of people to hire a maid to clean our home or one of our properties & discovered the maid was walking around taking pictures of our home/property & making comments about it for their Instagram account, that would be the last time we ever used that maid. Period. The socialists/liberal/communist mentally that many in the US have where they think other people should be required to give them money for services they don’t want is insane & goes against common sense & our natural basic human instincts IMO. Ridiculous.

What constitutional right? This one?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [Emphasis added]

Social media is just a modern version of standing on a soapbox at a crowed square, handing out pamphlets on a sidewalk or going door-to-door speaking with neighbors.

So do companies prohibit an employee from airing their grievances in an old-fashion way? Imagine a Starbucks employee spending their break out on the public sidewalk holding a sign saying bad things about the company or management. Are there written company policies about expressing thoughts with pamphlets, banners or voice in public?

But with tremendously more reach. Just as with searching people’s phones, I’d argue that there’s a qualitative difference brought on by the tremendous quantitative one.

No, how about not imagining it’s a Starbucks. Although Starbucks is owned by millions of individual investors like everyone reading this who has a 401k it is demonized & isn’t that great of example. Imagine YOU open a coffee shop, restaurant or sports bar in retirement & it’s one of your employees trying to drive away your customers & shut you down during their lunch breaks. Should you have right to fire that S.O.B & tell them to get off your property that you paid for? According to many unions, their supporters & labor boards the answer would be, “No”. It’s his time & his freedom of speech. Your rights as an individual, property owner & investor would be meaningless & they would say you had to employee him regardless of what he says on Facebook or in front of the coffee shop you sunk a life savings into. Completely retarded.