How can we control social media?

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Reading about the social media restrictions placed on Olympic volunteers had me thinking about the ways we can control the information that is shared on social media.

Social media has encouraged us to share our lives openly with many people but there are things that organisations can not have shared for a variety of reasons from security to competition.

How do we control information that has been unofficially put on social media? The simple answer is inevitably it is extremely difficult, but there are two important approaches that can be taken, proactive and reactive.

Proactive: Naturally it is important to ensure as an organisation that you have policies in place to ensure that staff or individuals know precisely what they can share and what information is prohibited. Most organisations have these in place but there is plenty of advice on compiling such a policy. As we know the online world moves very quickly so it is important to ensure that the policy is regularly reviewed and updated.

Reactive: I also believe it is important to have an official presence on social media platforms. If a fact is released which is inaccurate this source can react and correct the mistake. In other cases when information is released without permission while they may not be able to prevent it, it does mean that the organisation may receive the news sooner and therefore have more time to react. A social media presence does not necessarily have to be an active poster, it could simply be used to monitor information for use during a crisis or as an aid for general organisation activity.

The two approaches are most effective when combined. Human nature means we love to share information and therefore even if an individual is aware of a policy and the repercussions of sharing information they may still not behave as desired. In this case it is important to be able to react effectively.

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