Navy gets rave reviews for social media handbook

The Navy has made a big splash with its recent release of a handbook that spells out the do’s and don’ts of social networking for commanding officers.

The 17-page book, available on the Navy’s Slideshare site, discusses the potential role of Facebook, Twitter and other websites as part of a commander’s overall communications strategy. But it also highlights matters of etiquette and ethics that might arise.

The first “do” is to just do it — and encourage others in your organization to do it, if only for the sake of good public relations.

“With fewer Americans having served themselves in the military, it is important for our service members to share their stories of service with the American people,” the handbook states. “Not surprisingly, this makes every blogging, tweeting or Facebooking sailor an ambassador for your command and the Navy.”

But social networking with an organization is a little trickier. For example, should commanders friend or follow their subordinates and vice versa? If the accounts are strictly professional, it’s not an issue. If a commander’s network includes family and friends, then including subordinates is a more difficult decision.

That’s not to say commanders should not do it, but they need to ensure that social networking relationships remain “on a professional level” with mutual respect and deference to rank, according to the handbook.

That approach is applicable in any professional organization, writes Molly DiBianca at the Delaware Employment Law Blog.

DiBianca also highlights the Navy’s guidelines on protecting sensitive personal and professional information and reviewing the privacy settings on social media accounts. These are provisions that “employers may want to consider when drafting their own social media policies,” she said.

The handbook earned a rave review from Craig Howie at the Los Angeles Times, who called it required reading for politicians looking to make use of social media. “While not directly related to politics…it makes great reading (and stands as good advice for any disciplined political campaign),” Howie said.

Douglas Karr, founder of the "Marketing Technology Blog" and a Navy veteran, also gives the handbook a rave review, beginning with its premise that social media use is inevitable. The Navy “recognizes that the conversations will happen online, with or without guidelines,” Karr said. “Rather than fighting social media, the Navy has instead chosen to promote social media usage throughout the ranks.”

The guidebook is especially valuable for avoiding generalities and addressing specific social media best practices on “sharing facts, admitting mistakes, protecting the organization and behaving appropriately,” Karr added.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.