The Fire Critic's School of Hard Knocks Policy on Social Media

This is my submission to the First Due Blog Carnival.

I could have written a very nice, well written, and detailed example of a social media policy that departments might be able to use to their favor. I have decided to do something different. I will actually have plenty to come in the future as I gear up for my FDIC class on Social Media.

Consider this the Cliff’s Notes!

Here is the School of Hard Knocks guide to Social Media usage in the Fire/EMS Service.

Purpose of this policy
The purpose of this policy is to extend gainful employment for the employee or volunteer status for the volunteer. Improper usage of this policy could hamper the longevity of your career and/or volunteering service.

Social Media usage comes with a lot of responsibility. The proper usage may be beneficial to the user (employee) and the department. However, improper usage can have instant and long term damage to the perception of the department and the user.

Social Media use is encouraged to proliferate the positive message of the department.

Golden Rule of Social Media
If you would not say it in front of your mother, boss, and/or priest do not say it or write it.

Social Media
Social media is content created by individuals using technologies through the Internet. Examples of social media include Facebook, blogs (a shortened term for web log), MySpace, RSS, YouTube, FourSquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, Delicious, Flicker, etc.

Potentially Damaging Usage of Social Media
a. Profane language or content
b. Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation
c. Sexual content or links to sexual content
d. Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
e. Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
f. Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party
g. Images and/or video from incidents which have not been cleared for usage by the department
h. Images and/or video of patients, bystanders, and first responders

Usage While on Duty
Employees may utilize social media while on duty while adhering personnel operating policies. Employees may not use social media while responding as a first responder or in the view of the public.

Photography and Videography
The use of cameras (still and video) should not interfere with your role as a first responder.

Information Dissemination
It is the role of the Public Information Officer (PIO) to disseminate information to the press and public. No employee shall be allowed to disseminate information to the press or public without expressed consent by the Fire/EMS Chief.

Follow the Golden Rule, respect others, and do not let Social Media usage hamper your role as a first responder.