Social Media 101: A beginner’s guide for Finance employees
Firstly, an introduction: I’m the manager of the Online Services Branch of the Australian Government Information Management Office, which is part of the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance). My branch is responsible for redeveloping the Web Publishing Guide.
We know from our stats and from agency queries that some of the most popular pages on the existing Guide are those dealing with Web 2.0 issues. As part of the redevelopment of the Guide we’ll look to update this content to include new developments in this area.
In doing this we won’t just be providing agencies with proper advice – we’ll also be in line with the push in the last year or so for greater use of Web 2.0 tools in the Australian Public Service. Leading the way was the Government 2.0 Taskforce, which disbanded in late 2009 after making 13 recommendations about greater online engagement and release of public sector information to the Australian Government. The recently-released Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration (the Moran Review) also made some recommendations in this space – see Reform 2: Creating more open government.
One of the important areas that we know agencies are interested in is the use of social media sites to engage with the public. But, as the Gov 2 Taskforce said in their report, for security reasons many agencies don’t even allow their employees to access these sites.
Until a few weeks ago, that used to be the case in Finance. But, in light of the work of the Gov 2 Taskforce, Finance opened up access to a range of social media sites to all staff. Employees were also provided with a set of guidelines on appropriate use of social media, including a how-to guide for Facebook and Twitter.
These guidelines cover a broad range of issues, including what Finance employees can talk about online and issues they should be aware of when using social media. The guidelines also look at relevant advice from the Australian Public Service Commission and the difference between official, professional and personal use of social media by Finance employees.
Chances are that the redeveloped Guide will include advice on what agencies should consider in opening up social media access to staff. In the meantime, we’re taking a first step in that direction by releasing Finance’s internal social media guidelines to the public. Keep in mind that we’re providing them purely for informational purposes: they’re intended as an example of departmental social media guidelines, rather than advice about what agencies’ own guidelines should cover. But hopefully you’ll find them interesting.
It’s also important to note that these guidelines are only a first version, and could change over time based on the Department’s experience with social media. Let us know what you think of the guidelines – we’re interested in your feedback about what is good or bad about them, and what could potentially be added to them.
Update 10 Feb 2012: Social Media 101 is now being published on finance.gov.au. The most up-to-date versions of the document can be found at http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/Social_Media/. The below links are retained for archival purposes.
Update: We’ve discovered some accessibility issues with the in-blog version of this document. To view it in this format, it’s available at http://www.slideshare.net/webpublishing/social-media-101-a-beginners-guide-for-finance-employees. Other formats are below.
- Social Media 101: A beginner’s guide for Finance employees (RTF, 121k)
- Social Media 101: A beginner’s guide for Finance employees (PDF, 151k)