Social Media Policies Guide Government Use

Policies and guidelines help governments avoid potential problems with social media tools

S.A. Reid, American City and County

Apr. 24, 2012 6:32pm

From Washington to Florida, local governments are using social mediatools like Facebook and Twitter to serve and engage the public. To minimize problems, including legal ones, and maximize effectiveness, they are creating social media policies and procedures to guide employees and elected officials in posting appropriately.

Social media’s benefits are tremendous, but so are the potential land mines, especially when the two-way conversation involves a government entity, says Paul Rubell, a New York-based social media law expert. Privacy and freedom of speech concerns, records retention, managing public comment, employee access and use, information retrieval, and similar issues all come into play with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, mobile applications and other social media tools. “It’s wonderful,” he says. “But nothing wonderful comes without pitfalls and risks.”

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