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Social Media Code of Conduct?

11 years 11 months ago #161010 by SAHMing
Replied by SAHMing on topic Re:Social Media Code of Conduct?
Our policy is that all communication- written, verbal, etc.. must go through Ex. Board approval before it's published, sent out. This helps us proof read as well. Some people are not as articulate as others and we ALL look bad when things go out with spelling and grammar errors. Also, only certain Ex. Board members are admins of the FB page, and the website is part of the school site, and only two people are allowed to work on it and they must go through district training and signing of the districts rules. So far, this is working well for us. Contained!
12 years 10 months ago #157850 by Lisa @ PTO Today
Replied by Lisa @ PTO Today on topic Re:Social Media Code of Conduct?
Really good question and excellent suggestions.

Mommyofeg- I Googled: School Facebook page + code of contact
and found a bunch of statements that schools use.

One non-PTO community guideline that I came across said:
Play nice, keep it real and factual.
Keep the conversation productive.
Only write something that you would say to someone's face.

Keep your suggestions coming. We'll do some more research and as MIdad suggested, work on something to post on our site.


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12 years 10 months ago #157827 by JHB
What you may actually want is a COMMUNICATIONS code of contact. "Social Media" is the big thing now, but the fact is - when it comes to trying to write policy - a person could make most of the same mistakes in newspaper ad, letter to the editor, mailout, even a phone call. You may want to write your policy to be broad enough to cover all the bases, including social media.
12 years 10 months ago #157815 by Mommyofeg
Thank you so much and especially for the link! I will be checking that out. We started our Facebook page last year and had a few growing pains in the beginning, but got them worked out. Every year at our Kickoff Meeting, we cover "Internet Etiquitte" if you will (I know I just killed the spelling there!) and we have verbally asked the board members to watch what they put online on their Facebook pages, as they are now board memebers and people know who they are, so whether they like it or not, they are the face of our PTO. We had a new member this year post a comment on her FB page that was just about 10 or 15 cuss words in a row. She actually did this in response to something else she did on FB on the schools FB page. SOOOOO, we feel that it would be best to create a written code of conduct with consequences.

Again, thank you so much for y'alls comments. I will be checking back here regularly to see if anyone else has some fantastic tips! Thank you thank you!!!
12 years 10 months ago #157814 by MIDad
First off, be aware that legally you don't have to worry much about free speech rights. The First Amendment prohibits government from limiting what people can say (with certain exceptions). It generally doesn't apply to businesses and organizations. People don't surrender their First Amendment rights by joining the PTO board, but the PTO certainly can limit what board members can say and do and still remain board members.

Our PTO doesn't have a social media policy, but I agree with the previous reply that it seems like a good idea. I'd start out focusing on areas like these:
  • Confidentiality. Don't post about deliberations during board meetings, complaints brought privately to the PTO, etc.
  • Privacy. Don't post people's names, thoughts or pictures without their permission, and remember that anything you post will live forever.
  • Transparency. Be open and honest about the fact that you're a PTO board member in any post involving the school or PTO.
  • Accuracy. If you make a mistake, correct it.
  • Liability. Board members should be aware that they may be held personally liable for posts that infringe copyright, libel or defame someone, violate obscenity standards, or violate any terms of use for wherever the post is made.
  • Professionalism and respect. To me, part of this is as simple as "if you wouldn't say it in face-to-face conversation, don't post it." The other part is that no one person or group should speak for the PTO without the PTO's approval.
I couldn't find any examples of social media policies for PTOs, but I did find a long list of policies from various nonprofits at Several universities are on the list, so you'd at least find some samples from education.

Good luck! And please post back when you've drawn up your policy; sounds like a good candidate for PTO Today's file share to me.
12 years 10 months ago #157813 by texasebeth
That is a good question. We don't but then my PTO doesn't even have it's own FB, twitter or website. All stuff I'm working on getting hopefully in a year.

Anyhow, I would check with your school district to see what (if any) policies they have regarding social media as a starting point. Or if you work read what your company has in place. That will give you some examples.

Good luck!
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