Social Media Policies Prevent Embarrassing Gaffes

John Storts
Slide Show

Eight Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy

A list of points that you should consider while crafting your company's social media policy.

Embarrassing errors of judgment committed with social media aren't the sole domain of inebriated college students or attention-seeking sports (falling) stars. Social-networking faux pas occur in many areas of public, private and professional life as quickly and easily as clicking a "send," "share" or "tweet" button, and serious consequences can result from these lapses.


Last week, BBC News reported on just such a lapse. Allegedly, Russian regional governor Dmitry Zelenin discovered a live earthworm in a salad he'd been served at a Kremlin state dinner. So, Zelenin took to his Twitter account and, with seeming bemusement, tweeted that "[t]hat's an original way to show that the lettuce leaf is fresh," including a pic of the offending wiggler.


Neither Kremlin officials nor the head chef were pleased with this very public revelation of apparent culinary catastrophe, with foreign policy advisor Sergei Prikhodko openly criticizing Zelenin for his "irresponsibility and stupidity" and calling for amendments to performance-assessment measures that include provisions for "dismissal on the grounds of imbecility."




While arguments as to Zelenin's right to free speech are for others to make, and the language used against him is perhaps too harsh, it's clear that Zelenin should have exercised more discretion in the way he handled this. His career could well hinge on this poorly considered tweet.


I don't have a clue about the Kremlin's official stance, but a clear, explicit social media policy might have given Zelenin good reason to rethink rushing to Twitter with his reportage of the gastronomic gaffe.


Whether you work in the public or private sector, for business or for a government agency, you can prevent such mistakes by creating a social media policy for your organization. Check out these social media policy resources from the Knowledge Network to help you get started:

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 19, 2010 6:34 AM Robert Samuel Robert Samuel  says:

Great insight John.  Even though I'm a small business owner, I can be affected by social media as well if I don't have some kind of structured policy.


Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.




Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.