BY BILL FERRIS

Does your school have a social media policy? In an age where teachers can lose their jobs based on a blog post, creating a policy governing online expression is a good idea. Being proactive in setting a social media policy sets clear expectations, making it less likely that you or someone you work with will write something embarrassing or inflammatory online. More to the point, if you wait until after someone does something stupid, you probably won’t like the reactionary, heavily lawyered policy you end up with.

So how do you set up a social media policy that sets out clear guidelines and consequences, but at the same time doesn’t stifle teachers from blogging or Tweeting? A little digging online can turn up some useful sample policies for you to start with. Corey Creed at Social Fresh has drafted a social media policy template you should look at when crafting your policy. While it’s geared more toward businesses than schools, most of their guidelines will work for just about any organization. Best of all, it’s rooted in common sense (“Be aware that your actions captured via images, videos, posts, or comments can reflect that of the company,” for example), rather than Draconian, CYA legalese designed to discourage teachers from using social media.

Creed advises, however, that his sample guide is only a template, and you’ll want to tailor it for your school (and possibly involve your school’s lawyers) to make sure it works for your situation. Once you have a workable social media policy in place, you can blog a little easier without worrying whether a seemingly innocuous post will get you in trouble.

A Template To Help Start Your Social Media Policy

Related stuff

Three guidelines for safe social networking

Instructifeature: Social Networking in Schools

Instructifeature: An Educator’s Field Guide for Facebook

Photo credit: escapedtowisconsin on Flickr.