Monthly Archives: September 2009

How to: Mashable offers social media policies from 80+ organizations

Everybody I know who is in a corporate or government agency position responsible for coalition or network building has had the same horrible experience.

You’re trying to do something simple (like communicate with employees, allies or others in a social media space they occupy) and – Bam! – you discover you can’t do it with out IT/HR/Matlock tracking you down and beating you with the Intertubes.

In those situations, it often helps to counter-argue using the policies and practices of your clients, audiences or peer organizations. I don’t know about you, but to make inroads in my own company, I’m ridden the IBM social media policy pony until it is sway-backed.

So it was heartening to find this bundle of social media examples with which to fight the good fight for me, my group and my clients’ projects. Hope it helps you, too.

Social Media Policies from 80+ Organizations: “


One of the key challenges for modern organizations is to define a social media policy. What’s acceptable? What isn’t? And how should you go about creating such a document for your workplace?

We’ve tried to aid with this process at Mashable through articles such as Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy? and 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy. We’ve also published guides like Social Media for Business: The Dos & Don’ts of Sharing.

What’s more, we’ve looked at what happens when these guidelines go to far, like the controversy over the Associated Press social media policy, and a similar situation at the NFL.

If you’re looking to define your own social media guidelines, however, one worthwhile task is to read the policies of other organizations. Chris Boudreaux, author of the upcoming book ‘Social Media Governance’, has assembled 82 such policies on the book’s website. From companies to charities to military organizations, it’s a treasure trove for those struggling with social media guidelines.

We think it’s super-handy: we hope you’ll agree.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Richphotographics, Palto, rtiom

Reviews: Mashable, iStockphoto

Tags: social media

(Via Mashable!.)

The Frontal Cortex: Social networks

Here’s an interesting article from “The Frontal Cortex.” It suggests that one way to move a large coalition is to find the small core of the social network that underpins it and try to get them moving in the same direction.

Social Networks: ”

I’ve got a new essay on social networks and the research of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler in the latest issue of Wired:

There’s something strange about watching life unfold as a social network. It’s easy to forget that every link is a human relationship and every circle a waistline. The messy melodrama of life–all the failed diets and fading friendships–becomes a sterile cartoon.

But that’s exactly the point. All that drama obscures a profound truth about human society. By studying Framingham as an interconnected network rather than a mass of individuals, Christakis and Fowler made a remarkable discovery: Obesity spread like a virus. Weight gain had a stunning infection rate. If one person became obese, the likelihood that his friend would follow suit increased by 171 percent. (This means that the network is far more predictive of obesity than the presence of genes associated with the condition.) By the time the animation is finished, the screen is full of swollen yellow beads, like blobs of fat on the surface of chicken soup.

The data exposed not only the contagious nature of obesity but the power of social networks to influence individual behavior. This effect extends over great distances–a fact revealed by tracking original subjects who moved away from Framingham. ‘Your friends who live far away have just as big an impact on your behavior as friends who live next door,’ Fowler says. ‘Think about it this way: Even if you see a friend only once a year, that friend will still change your sense of what’s appropriate. And that new norm will influence what you do.’ An obese sibling hundreds of miles away can cause us to eat more. The individual is a romantic myth; indeed, no man is an island.

Wired also has a series of beautiful images of the actual network data. And if you’d like to learn more about the research, I highly recommend the new book by Christakis and Fowler, Connected. And here’s a much longer article on the social network research by Clive Thompson, which does an excellent job of explaining the different ways in which the scientists try to separate causation from correlation. (Is obesity really contagious? Or did a McDonald’s just open up in the neighborhood?) It turns out that the old warning of David Hume – causation is a slippery concept and a tricky thing to prove – is even more relevant in the age of excess data, when supercomputers can sift through terabytes of social information and uncover all sorts of fallacious correlations. Christakis and Fowler get around this problem through some clever analytics: they show, for instance, that obesity is much more contagious between close friends than it is between acquaintances, which suggests that social networks are the driving mechanism (and that the new neighborhood McDonald’s isn’t). Regardless, it will be interesting to watch this new field evolve in the next few years, as the Humean skeptics do battle with the enthusiastic believers…

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(Via The Frontal Cortex.)