The following set of rules has been implemented for members of the County of Hawaii’s Legislative Branch regarding the use of Social Media in the workplace.
If you ask me personally what I think about some of these rules… I think some of them are fair… and others are ridiculous.
1.1 Social Media: The online technologies, tools and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives. Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. These sites typically use technologies such as websites, blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, and videologs to allow users to interact.
1.2 Web Master and Team: Employees at the Department of Information Technology will be responsible for the overall direction, design, and network administration of the County of Hawai‘i intranet and web presence.
1.3 Social Media Assistant: Employee, designated by the Council Chair and County Clerk for the Clerk/Council branch and the Legislative Auditor for the Legislative Auditor branch, who is responsible for overall monitoring, direction and presence of the respective Legislative Branch’s web presence and social media outlets.
1.4 Social Media Authorized Agent: Legislative Branch employee who has been authorized by their elected official, department head or immediate supervisor to post content on behalf of the Legislative Branch for their office web pages and social media sites.
These guidelines are applicable to county employees or contractors who create or contribute to social networks, blogs, wikis, or any other kind of social media on behalf of the Legislative Branch.
3. Acceptable Use
All use of social networking sites by officers and employees of the Legislative Branch shall be consistent with applicable state, federal, and local laws, regulations, and policies, including all information technology security policies; Hawai‘i Revised Statutes provisions for permitted interaction between elected officials and staff (HRS 92-2.5); Hawai‘i County Code, Article 15, Code of Ethics, and Hawai‘i County workplace policies.
The following issues will be considered with all social media communication:
- Confidentiality – Officers and employees will not post or release proprietary, confidential, sensitive or personally identifiable information or county government intellectual property on social media websites.
- Disclaimer – The Social Media Assistant shall post the following language on all social media pages: “The comments expressed on this site do not reflect the opinions and position of the County of Hawai‘i’s Legislative Branch or its officers or employees. If you have any questions concerning the operation of this online moderated discussion site, please contact the Legislative Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- Personal vs. Professional Use – The social media websites administered by the Legislative Branch are not intended for personal use. All communication on these sites shall be work-related and no personal emails, social media sites, or websites shall be referenced.
- Email addresses – Only generic email addresses will be used for social media sites. Employee names will not be used.
Social Media Authorized Agents posting content to social media sites are representing their division or office and the Legislative Branch. Therefore, all agency-related communication through social media outlets should remain professional in nature and should always be conducted thoughtfully, respectfully, and in a professional and tactful manner. Agency-related social networking is not to be used for political purposes, to conduct private commercial transactions, expressing personal opinions regarding work-related or legislative matters, or to conduct private business transactions or activities. Inappropriate usage of social media can be grounds for disciplinary action.
Terms of Service:
Employees should be aware of the Terms of Service of the particular form of media. Each form of social media has its own unique terms of service that regulate how users interact using that particular form of media. Any employee using a form of social media on behalf of the Legislative Branch shall consult with the most current terms of service in order to avoid violations. Any conflicts between the terms of service of the social media site and this policy shall be reported to the Social Media Assistant who can make a determination regarding the appropriateness and viability.
Every division or office needs an adopted communication plan with a clear strategy for how social media fits into this strategy. The Social Media Assistant for each division or office should spearhead this activity and, in doing so, should consider the following questions when determining whether use of social media is appropriate:
- Who is the target audience?
- What information is the division or office attempting to communicate? Which social media tools are the best to distribute this information?
- Who is responsible for managing the different social media tools/accounts? Will this person represent the agency appropriately? Has staff been properly trained in the use of social media? What team of people will replace the primary user in the event of vacation, emergency or job transitions? If a consultant’s work includes social media outreach, which accounts will be used and who will approve content?
- How will the division or office collect and preserve social media content? Who will be responsible for maintaining and documenting social media records for periodical submission to the County Clerk and the County of Hawai‘i Committee on the Destruction of Records?
When a division or office decides to use a form of social media that is deemed beneficial to its mission, it should first establish protocols for using the service. It is important for Social Media Authorized Agents to communicate expectations of appropriate usage for social media within the workplace.
There will be an authorization process for divisions or offices wishing to create an account for the benefit of the Legislative Branch, with the designated Social Media Assistant as the authority to oversee and confirm decisions. The Social Media Assistant will evaluate all requests for usage, verify staff being authorized to use social media tools, and confirm completion of online training for social media.
The Social Media Authorized Agent on the SMAP shall be responsible to set up the account, create the user password, and maintain content.
Each branch will designate a Social Media Assistant that shall also be responsible for supplying a list of all social networking application names in use and the names of all Social Media Authorized Agents of these accounts. In addition, the respective Social Media Assistant shall maintain a list of all departmental account passwords and usernames. The designated Social Media Assistant of each branch shall have the authority to reset passwords if necessary.
Finally, each branch’s Social Media Assistant shall be responsible to monitor all social media content for appropriateness. The Social Media Assistant shall have the authority to delete submissions that contain:
- Vulgar language.
- Personal attacks.
- Comments or content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, genetics, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or intellectual disability or sexual orientation.
- Spam or links to other sites.
- Clearly off topic.
- Campaigning or electioneering.
- Any communication between elected officials or district staff regarding items before the council or a committee, or that has the potential to be a topic of discussion on an upcoming council or committee meeting agenda in violation of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Section 92-2.5.
- Friend links to other County Council Members.
- Advocate illegal activity.
- Promote particular services, products or political organizations.
- Infringe on copyrights or trademarks.
- Personally identifiable medical information.
- Information that may compromise the safety, security or proceedings of public systems or any criminal or civil investigations.
- Any content, in his/her discretion, deemed unsuitable.
In summary, the Social Media Assistant shall:
- Oversee and confirm decisions regarding social media sites including authorization of sites;
- Evaluate requests for usage;
- Submit requests for usage and action plans to the County Clerk;
- Have final authority to edit or remove content within legal constraints per this policy;
- Have the ability to change/reset passwords;
- Verify and document agents authorized to use social media tools;
- Maintain a list of social media domains, active account logins and passwords;
- Maintain the SMAP files;
- Ensure that all Social Media Authorized Agents receive appropriate training and training updates when deemed appropriate;
- Ensure social media material is archived including providing a list of all social media outlets and contact information.
- Monitor content for appropriate usage.
Procedures for Implementation:
- Manager/Supervisor fill out SMAP with assistance from Social Media Assistant.
- Social Media Assistant will submit SMAP to County Clerk for approval.
- The Social Media Assistant and Clerk will have two weeks to approve SMAP, any revisions or corrections will be performed by the division or office’s Social Media Authorized Agent.
- After approved by the County Clerk, the Social Media Assistant will notify the Social Media Authorized Agent that the SMAP has been approved.
- The Social Media Authorized Agent and any back-up agent shall be provided with procedures instructions and trained appropriately.
- The Social Media Authorized Agent shall be given access to open the desired social media account.
- The SMAP shall be reviewed once per council term.
5. Content Management
Clear comment policies for public users:
Content of Posts and Comments:
All employees shall use discretion as stated in this policy. The Social Media Assistant is authorized to delete any content that is in violation of this policy. Social Media Authorized Agents shall not engage in arguments with members of the public. Should any post received be aggressive, accusatory, or argumentative, Social Media Authorized Agents will not answer the post. Should an answer be required, Social Media Authorized Agents will consult with supervising authority and through the supervisory authority if necessary, the Social Media Assistant.
6. Records Retention
Communications through any county social media is considered public record and shall be managed as such. All comments or posts made to the Legislative Branch’s wall or pages are public, not private. Therefore, both incoming and outgoing posts by employees or non-employees will become a part of the public record. Because others might not be aware of the public records law, the Social Media Assistant shall post the language similar to the following on every social networking site:
“Representatives of the Legislative Branch communicate via this website. Consequently, any communication via this site, whether by a county employee or the general public, may be subject to monitoring and disclosure to third parties.”
In the spirit of transparency, Social Media Authorized Agents who receive messages through the private message service offered by the social media site should encourage users to contact them at a public e-mail address maintained by their agency. For private messages that Social Media Authorized Agents do receive, they should be treated as constituent emails and therefore, Social Media Authorized Agents or another authorized staff member should reply using their county email account.
All Legislative Branch social media site privacy settings shall be set to public.
The Department of Information Technology has in place county-wide network security applications and procedures. All questions or concerns regarding security shall be directed to the Social Media Assistant.
This policy is modeled after the Social Media Guidelines: King County, and was retrieved from www.kingcounty.gov/socialmedia. King County is located in the State of Washington.
Dominic Yagong, Council Chair Date
Colleen Schrandt, Legislative Auditor Date
Jamae Kawauchi, County Clerk Date
This has been signed by the above and unfortunately the information that it was drafted from… is almost three years old already!
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