According to MajaStevanovich

News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.

Should Social Media Guidelines be Social Media Training Opportunities?

The concept of “personal branding” has gained a lot of popularity and individuals are taking the time to align their social networks to tell their story and put them in the best possible light. The question becomes, how much information should truly be personal vs. professional? Do personal anecdotes and interests outside the professional realm add value or hinder one’s credibility?

On the other hand, what if an individual wants to purely use social media for personal purposes. Is that even possible? The saying that one’s occupation indentifies them and makes them who they are can make social networking difficult if that job is not to be discussed. This is a question that can especially be of interest and of value to individuals in the military. The National Guard recently released their social media policy, which at first glance makes it very difficult to even be on a social network as a member of the Guard due to all the stipulations of can and can’t be posted. Or, is it simply common sense and what one wouldn’t say or discuss in public applies to social media and these guidelines are just simple reminders?

We hear stories of individuals losing jobs over social media posts or never even being hired to begin with. While this has become a reality, it hasn’t stopped individuals from making the same mistakes over and over. The members of the military, however, can’t afford to make too many social media mistakes as they can cause more severe problems than lost jobs, it can cost lost lives if the wrong information gets out.

The new environment we are operating in has social networks embedded in our daily operations and almost ingrained in our DNA. Since this medium doesn’t seem to be going away, it raises the real question–should these guidelines look more like training manuals rather than what can be perceived as confusing rules and regulations?

To take a look at the National Guard policy, go to this article:


2 comments on “Should Social Media Guidelines be Social Media Training Opportunities?

  1. Mike Pierson
    August 18, 2010

    As a retired military member and current military public affairs professional (on the civilian side now) I run into this argument on a regular basis. My take on it is that social media is a social environment, just like any outside-of-work social groups such as church groups, sports teams or garage bands. The way your present (brand) yourself outside of work can affect the way you are perceived (branded) at work and vice versa. You can risk revealing too much about work in any social setting, whether it is on-line or face-to-face. Military members have been spilling sensitive information in bars, on trains and over telephones for generations. They key is understanding that you don’t share sensitive information (personal or professional) with ANY audience in ANY medium. You accept the restrictions on your actions and your communication rights when you accept the job.

  2. Rick Rice
    August 19, 2010

    I have to agree with Mike’s points here (Hi, Mike). I would add that, while the consequences can be greater in the Military, these are lessons we all need to keep in mind.

    Social Media isn’t going away so we need to accept it and focus on education and training people in how they use it. We all need to use common sense and think before we hit send, post or tweet. This article was a good reminder.

    Another excellent post Maja. Thanks for all you’re doing.

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