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Social media are powerful communications tools that have a significant impact on organisational and professional reputations.
Because they blur the lines between personal voice and institutional voice, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has crafted the following policy to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media.
Social media are defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.
Examples include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace.
Both in professional and institutional roles, members, customers, supporters and trustees need to follow the same behavioural standards online as they would in real life. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with others on-line apply as they would in the real world. In light of recent scandals in the UK it is important that our members are aware that they may be held legally liable for anything they post to social media sites.
Policies for all Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites
- Protect confidential and proprietary information:
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about PSPS, trustees, employees, members or supporters and/or of its Associated Companies* and ensure that you respect privacy and confidentiality policies. Members who do share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination of Membership.
- Respect copyright and fair use:
When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others.
- Don’t use PSPS logos for endorsements:
Do not use the PSPS logo or any other Society images or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use PSPS’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
- Terms of service:
Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed personally or in the name of PSPS.
This section provides guidance to anyone posting on social media in any capacity, in which the author is referring to the PSPS, its Associated Companies*, or any of its members or supporters;-
- Think twice before posting:
Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the PSPS and/or its Associated Companies*. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it on-line. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your branch chair or a trustee for advice in advance of posting anything.
Strive for accuracy: Get the facts straight before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the PSPS in any capacity.
- Be respectful:
Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the PSPS and its institutional voice.
- Remember your audience:
Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm, or provoke any potential members, supporters or stakeholders.
- On personal sites:
Identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a PSPS member on-line, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society.
Photographs posted on social media sites easily can be appropriated by others. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800×600 resolution to protect your intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing.
- Complaints and Frustrations:
In the event that you wish to make a complaint or raise a grievance of some kind, you should put your complaint in writing to your branch chair, who will escalate the matter through the appropriate channels. It is PSPS policy to aim to remedy and respond to all complaints and grievances in an informal manner initially.
However, if you feel that your complaint is not being dealt with appropriately rather than use Social media as an outlet to vent your frustration, (which may cause damage to the reputation of the Society or its members, and potentially place you in a position where you are facing disciplinary action yourself), you should refer the matter to the Society’s Secretary.
Adopted by the Council of Management on 7th September 2013 and reviewed and revised on 23 June 2018.
[paper]*PSPS’s Associated Companies are deemed to be:
- Waverley Steam Navigation Ltd.
- Waverley Excursions Ltd.
- Waverley Excursions Guernsey (2015) Ltd.
- Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust Ltd.
- Loch Lomond Steamship Company
- Dart Pleasure Craft Ltd & Dart Valley Railway PLC – trading as Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company
- MV Balmoral Fund Ltd.
- And any other owner and or operator of a Paddle Steamer in the UK.