Social Media Guidelines

Introduction

In this constantly changing media landscape, Maine Public is evolving into a multi-platform content provider. As such, Maine Public is taking advantage of emerging technologies and platforms on the Web such as social media, both on and off Maine Public.net.

Maine Public understands and believes in the value of social media and supports the efforts of different groups across the company to create more interaction points between Maine Public and our audience. This type of interaction is fundamentally changing the way Maine Public and its employees work and engage with each other, our member stations and our audience.

When Maine Public wishes to communicate publicly as a company, it has well-established means to do so. Only those officially designated by Maine Public have authorization to speak on behalf of the company. Anyone with questions about official spokespeople can contact the Director of Human Resources for clarification.

In addition, Maine Public continues to explore ways to enhance and leverage online discourse and interaction in a way that enhances our programming and the value we deliver to our audience.

Maine Public recognizes that employees are currently participating in social media activities such as blogging, commenting on message boards or live chats, participating in social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, or being active on platforms such as Twitter. Maine Public supports and encourages its employees to engage and participate in this evolving sphere of exchange and interaction. However, Maine Public asks all employees to exercise sound judgment to prevent online social media sites from becoming a distraction to work.

Maine Public also expects its employees to be responsible in their interactions in social media and similar forums, whether their use is personal or professional. There are situations where the social media activities of Maine Public employees and others associated with Maine Public can have an impact on Maine Public’s brand and reputation or could lead to potential legal liability for Maine Public. And as a result, Maine Public has created the following guidelines to guide and protect Maine Public and its employees as they interact in social media.

Social Media Guidelines — For All Employees

Maine Public recognizes that many employees maintain personal online social media pages. Maine Public trusts and expects employees to exercise personal responsibility whenever they participate in social media. Employees should remember that all of Maine Public’s policies, including but not limited to its policies on harassment, nondiscrimination, and ethical behavior, can be violated through an employee's irresponsible use of personal social media. In all circumstances, Maine Public expects its employees and contractors to honor the principles embedded in Maine Public’s policies. The following guidelines set out the responsibilities of all Maine Public employees when participating in any social media forum or platform:

  1. Everyone is personally responsible for any content they post on blogs, chats, social networks, forums and other user-generated content sites. Remember that whatever you publish is public and will remain public (and searchable) for a very long time.
  2. Be aware of your association with Maine Public in online social networks. If you identify yourself as a Maine Public employee, you are obligated to ensure your profile and content directly associated with you is consistent with Maine Public policies, Maine Public’s brand, and how you wish to present yourself with colleagues and the public as a Maine Public employee.
  3. Maine Public encourages employees to post information related to Maine Public programs on social media platforms. This type of promotion is an extremely valuable method to encourage our viewers to be engaged with Maine Public’s programming. If, however, you are posting information related to your job, you must identify yourself as an employee of Maine Public.
  4. Employees must recognize that they can always easily be associated with the Maine Public brand, even in their own personal capacity and when not discussing Maine Public. As a general rule, employees should consider the impact and/or appropriateness of their actions in regards to their consistency with Maine Public’s best interests. If you come across a discussion in a social media platform that is controversial in relation to Maine Public or its programming, it’s generally best to hold back or step away. However, if you engage in such a discussion, be sure to identify yourself as a Maine Public employee.
  5. It is very important that you identify who you are whenever you discuss Maine Public or matters related to Maine Public. Be clear that you are speaking on behalf of yourself and not Maine Public.
  6. If you publish content to a website outside of Maine Public that has something to do with subjects associated with Maine Public, use a disclaimer such as “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Maine Public’s positions, strategies or opinions.”
  7. Always exercise good judgment and common sense. Refrain from posting or making comments that can be interpreted as slurs, personal insults, demeaning language or engaging in any conduct that would violate Maine Public policies or would otherwise be unacceptable in Maine Public’s workplace. Employees should show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics or religion.
  8. Always respect the legal rights of trademark, copyright and fair use laws. Make sure you have the right to something before you publish it and always give proper credit for other people’s work.
  9. Protect Maine Public’s confidential and proprietary information. Maine Public employees are prohibited from posting or disseminating content regarding or related to Maine Public’s proprietary internal business matters and/or containing any internal Maine Public documents.

Official Maine Public Blogs and Social Media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Blogs on Maine Public.net, etc.)

Maine Public believes that blogs and other forms of online discourse are an important form of communication and relationship between Maine Public and others. In order to maintain the quality and consistency of the Maine Public brand, any Maine Public employee or contractor who communicates officially on behalf of Maine Public in any social media forum or platform or posts on any Maine Public hosted blog should be sure to comply with the following:

  1. Know and follow all statements in the “Social Media Guidelines—All Employees” set forth above. If you’re a contractor posting on a Maine Public hosted blog or social media forum/platform, the “Social Medial Guidelines—All Employees” apply to you. If you are a contractor posting outside of a Maine Public hosted or sponsored site, take care to use good judgment and common sense in your other social media activities as your actions could reflect on Maine Public.
  2. Be respectful of the audience and use common sense. Keep this rule of thumb in mind: If you wouldn’t put it on air or have it printed on the front page of a national newspaper, then don’t post it online.
  3. Anyone posting on Maine Public.net or any other Maine Public hosted or official social media must always uphold the values and mission of Maine Public and should coordinate with his/her manager or assigned Maine Public supervisor regarding information that he/she posts on these sites.
  4. Don’t pick fights, do be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
  5. Always add value. Provide information that is worthwhile. Maine Public’s brand is its most valuable asset. That brand is reflected by its people and by the content Maine Public provides, and whatever you publish will have an impact on the Maine Public brand.

Application of the Guidelines

These guidelines apply to all Maine Public employees and contractors who post content on Maine Public hosted sites and social media even when you may not be acting officially on behalf of Maine Public. This policy also applies to all Maine Public employees and contractors who post content on personal social media sites. It is intended to be consistent and read in conjunction with other Maine Public policies on similar subjects. Employees and contractors who violate this or other Maine Public policies may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Maine Public, in its sole discretion, may change this and other policies without prior notice. Employees should direct questions regarding this policy to the Human Resources department.

Adopted March 2011