Saturday, October 6, 2012

Social media policy and user-generated content

In case you have missed the thread though other posts, I am impatient for the implementation of social networking technologies in the library I work at. This is being tempered by some of my readings and the need for a social media policy is another reminder that it is going to take time to implement social media properly.
In my readings about social media policy is what has been apparent is the need to include information in a social media policy about responding to user-generated content such as comments, and posts in response to library content. Fleet suggests that this falls into two areas: Comment moderation; and online interaction (Fleet, 2009, p.12)
The first issue would be whether to moderate comments before or after they are posted. It can be a disincentive to interact if patrons cannot see their comments appear straight away.
Content moderation in a social media policy sets boundaries for acceptable behaviour of patrons on company properties (which includes their social networking sites) such as acceptable language, personal attacks, off topic comments, spam comments, and blocking users for offences (Fleet, 2009, p13)e)
What really interests me are the 'rules of engagement' for staff in online interaction, since I want to be the person that is encouraging interaction on social networking sites. Social media policies should address and publicly promote the expectations for the way the library will behave online with respect to conversations and standards. (Fleet, 2009, p.14), Issues that can be addressed are will the library respond to spam, off-topic comments, defamatory comments, misinformation and disagreement and if so, how? Also how long will libraries take to respond. (Fleet, 2009 p.14)
These are important concerns to address, before they become an issue.

Personally, I like Vancouer Public Library approach to user generated content. They have decided to treat their social media spaces as any other physical space in the library where people are entitled to express their opinion (Cahill, 2009 p. 270) In the 'about' section of their Facebook page they have a disclaimer that the comments or information posted on the site do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Library.  They also have a link to their social media terms of use policy.

I think that in order to continue to encourage engagement it is important to respond to all comments and to allow users as much freedom on library social networking sites as possible only moderating comments and posts that pose legal issues.

Cahill, K. (2011). Going social at Vancouver Public Library: what the virtual branch did next. Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems, 45(3), 259 – 278.
Fleet, David. (2009). Social media policies: An introduction. [ebook] Retrieved from:

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