It has come to light that the Chartered Institute of Public Relations has produced bespoke guidance for MPs on their use of social media.
The 5,500 word guide, commissioned by Commons Speaker John Bercow, is said to include such pearls of wisdom as ‘don’t tweet whilst drunk’ and encourages MPs not to be ‘boring’.
MPs have also been warned not to be boring on Twitter, and to “beware of doing too many clichéd politician’s tweets” – but they have also been advised not fake interests, such as in a local football team or a popular television programme, in order to appear more down to earth, says the Evening Standard.
Should we be concerned that our elected representatives need to be set parameters for their increasingly prolific social media use, or can businesses learn from this initiative?
Although much of the guide appears to be what many of us would consider common sense, it does address an important point: people make mistakes.
Any organisation that fails to properly inform its staff around social media issues and the potential for reputational damage (and worse) is missing out on the opportunity to steer their social media conversation in a positive and productive way.
Rather than waiting to catch out employees with vague policies in dusty ring-binders when employees do something wrong, it is far better (and cost-effective) to prevent any problems arising in the first place.
Sensible, workable and regularly reviewed social media policies can help, rather than hinder, the employment relationship and protect the organisation in the process.
Does the policy need to clarify that employees shouldn’t tweet when drunk? Let’s hope that’s not essential, but may be sensible.