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Thanks to SreeTips I learnt today that the BBC has adopted a social media policy that requires a “second pair of eyes” should review all Twitter and Facebook updates. My first thought was “Nice!” It is good to have evidence that there are organizations that still emphasize standards and quality. I really appreciate this step by the BBC because it shows:

  • conscious effort rather than blundering around in the social media wilderness
  • allows for human fallibility and understands the need for quality checks
  • emphasizes thoroughness even in the face of extreme time pressure
I have enjoyed reading some of the responses to this policy news across the web. (On a tangential note I have to say that I am delighted daily to find thoughtful, analytical points being made by people who write in comment sections and are not recognized stars, pundits, experts or gurus! For every inane spotlight-hogger, the web also gives us a wise commentator and balances out the virtual world karma.) While some have expressed despair that the BBC is not moving with the times and that it is slowing itself down, there are many who understand that this is a push by the BBC brand to ensure that they are always a reliable news brand. One sloppy source on a news story or an unverified comment on Twitter is all it will take to damage the BBC reputation and they are making sure that they avoid such situations by laying out their policy. You can find the whole document here, if you are interested.
It is a reminder that all of us need to spend some time thinking about their social media engagement. Small businesses, large corporations and every man, woman and child need to have an understanding of what it means to post on Facebook or Twitter and what it means to send thoughts out into the ethernet. Small companies who choose to have their interns or newest employees guide their social media engagement, should spend some time ensuring that they are properly represented. It is not just about quick and easy but also about relevant and worthwhile.
You may or may not call it  a policy, but it is worth understanding that:
  • You have to have a line of what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  • You need to think before hitting share or post.
  • You should have clarity about how you and your brand intersect.
  • You have to designate your own version of a second set of eyes.
  • You need to distinguish between a spelling error and a conceptual mis-representation (Hint: one is more easily fixable than the other).
  • You need to have a plan to handle system failures without panicking.
There is no single set of rules that will fit all of us, and we all have to find ways to make social media meaningful to our context and our personalities. I figure it wont’t hurt to use the BBC as a reference point!