Media, Policy and Interaction

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In order to provide a foundation for the analysis of social media policies this work will utilize the following research questions:. The article will start with an introduction to the foundational idea of regulation: command and control. Earlier research has discussed how the Internet is difficult to regulate, placing a strain on the command and control structure. We will also review the Swedish legal context, highlighting two regulative principles: that of the civil servant as employee and freedom of information access.

Thereafter we will present two theoretical viewpoints.

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Therefore, the entire University community has a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the institution no matter where, when or how they interact with social media. We must all contribute to protecting the business reputation of the Employer. However, most of the involved legislative texts were formulated at another time. This positioning in relation to an adaptive strategy goes to the heart of the research interest in this article. Make sure your policy covers:. Respect others Behave on social media as you would in a face-to-face relationship. These legislative efforts were drawn up before the Internet, in most cases before the World Wide Web and certainly without the potentials of social media in mind.

The second viewpoint is a notion of conflicting regulatory elements. Traditionally, different regulatory areas are seen to exist within a hierarchical structure. Conflicts are solved by allowing priority to higher order policies. We will argue that regulation on social media tends to enter an area where the hierarchical levels become flattened. Following the theoretical section, we will present the empirical material. We will discuss our findings in relation to the empirical research questions. The article will conclude with a discussion.

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However, it must be understood that the creation of regulatory rules is a process of simplification. There are two aspects to this. First, a simplification of language, clarity is pursued, disallowing ambiguities. Second, rules must be built on simplified understandings of reality as this enables large groups of regulated subjects to fall within the scope of purpose.

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These latter problems become obvious in times of rapid technological change when rules based upon one presupposition of technology are suddenly being applied to a new technological infrastructure with very different results. In the case that we are analyzing, social media policies, the regulatory tradition has been to apply the routines connected to the administration of paper to be valid for digital technology as well.

As response to the first waves of digitalization, in the s, s and s, this strategy has been successful. However, as social interaction becomes more flexible in recent years, one can question the continued application of older regulatory ideals. Social media policies challenge us to rethink the notion of Internet regulation.

1. Clarify who can speak for your company on social media

According to the classical command and control principle, we can subject human conduct to the governance of external controls no matter which forms such controls consist of Baldwin, et al. Naturally, with such a wide definition of rules, the regulated subject must negotiate complementary and conflicting regulatory systems.

What is a company social media policy?

Situated within the field of discourse-oriented approaches to policy and media, this collection explores the interface between government, media and the public, . Buy Media, Policy and Interaction 1 by William Housley, Richard Fitzgerald (ISBN : ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free.

Any pragmatic attempt to understand the regulation of online activity must begin with an understanding of the technology itself. In particular, it is important to understand the affordances and limitations set by the technological infrastructure. It is outside the frame of this paper to fully describe the various technologies of social media. Instead, we build on general theoretical idea that the design of a technological artifact or system is not neutral but, rather, have a strong effect on our use.

For our purposes, we see a social media platform as an artifact and the technological artifact embedded in a regulatory framework as a technological system. Our position is similar to that of Smith , who argues that different technological systems signal separate norms of behavior. For instance, a technological system that removes personal choice, either through technology or regulation, would indicate that the moral values reside in the technological system. On the other hand, if the system through design and regulation upholds personal choice, the individual becomes empowered to be a moral agent.

How to Write a Social Media Policy for Your Company (Free Template)

Among the earliest researchers to broaden this discussion and to present it to a wider audience was McLuhan who argued that changes in the technology have wider effects on what we communicate. In essence, the technology controls the content. The recent widespread adoption of social media has seen a renewed interest in McLuhanism cf. Despite this fresh round of technology criticism, the prevailing wisdom is that technology and society are easily separated into isolated domains Beck, One reason for this may be the reluctance to accept any form of technological determinism, as this would imply a lack of free will among human actors Winner, ; Feenberg, A counter to this may be found in the substantive theory Ellul, that technology constitutes an alternate cultural system that is transforming the entire social world.

Technology is, then, seen as a tool that actively shapes patterns of thought and behavior. Winner and Latour have extended this questioning of the neutrality of technology. This theoretical discussion on the restrictions imposed by technological choice, should be linked with a discussion on the potential of technological development. Technologies do not only restrict human behavior, they can also be liberating. The concept of affordances was suggested by Gibson and adapted to the technological discussion by Gaver Built into the concept of affordances are both restrictions and possibilities, although we will focus on the latter in this text.

In other words analog, paper—based publications contain certain affordances that are quite restrictive compared with digital text. Web—based publications offer even more affordances and social media further widens this range.

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Nevertheless, we will discuss policy approaches that view social media with the mindset of analog, paper—based affordances. By combining these two approaches, we suggest that to understand the political practice of the s, we must be aware of both the affordances and restrictions of available technologies.

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The position of this work is that regulation should be seen as any force or external control exerted upon those actions to be regulated Fuller, Therefore regulation can be state or non—state, intended or unintended, legal, technical or economic and so on. The answer is, of course, that such multiple systems do exist and have in history been more common than unitary systems. As we take our starting point by recognizing the existence of polycentric regulatory systems we are able to more fully understand the ways in which systems other than law exert regulatory pressure.

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The fundamental level of regulation lies mainly outside the control of the governmental authorities and consists of the affordances and limitations of the technology under consideration. While some Internet applications may be blocked by organizations, this is a coarse form of regulation, which may not take into consideration the full needs of the organization.

Additionally, such limitations are restricted to those Internet access points controlled by the organization. Aside from the technological limitations that may be set there are legal systems that affect the behavior of the social media user. There are three aspects that create major complications when applying these traditional regulatory ideas on social media. The first of these is that the command and control principle presupposes that the technology that is to be regulated is a neutral instrument. As we have argued above, this is seldom the case.

Furthermore, social media are so blatantly non—neutral that it clearly supplies new possibilities, affordances, dissolving or renegotiating boundaries between the four legal systems mentioned above. The second complication concerns the way that social media obviously has the potential of rejuvenating and actually revolutionizing the relationship between politics, governmental bodies and citizens. From our perspective, this should be the primary consideration when devising policy. However, as we shall see, this is, at best, a secondary aspect of the policies that we have studied.

The first complication is, quite simply, that regulation tends to restrict the affordances of the technology. Therefore, regulation, originally aimed at promoting democracy, may actually restrict the participatory potential of social media. Modern regulation is often built on quite old solutions to ancient problems. This is important to keep in mind when analyzing aspects of social media that can be seen to introduce new dimensions to old problems. An important tradition for the Swedish regulatory landscape goes back to conflicts on the labor market during the late nineteenth century.

Included in the right to organize production was the authority to create rules and policies within the sphere of employment. As such, policies may be seen as statements expressing the intention to control the behavior of the employees. In addition to the former principle, the employee is also bound by a duty of loyalty towards the employer. This duty has often been affirmed by the courts and consists of a duty not to cause harm to the employer.

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Taken together, the employer—employee relationship consists not only of an economic agreement but creates a personal relationship between the parties that go beyond those stated in the employment contract. Failures in loyalty may lead to lawful termination of the employment contract. However, it is important to establish that the duty of loyalty creates a limitation to the right of the employee to openly criticize the employer. This explicit contradiction between the rights of the citizen and the loyalty of the employee is given a new dimension as corporations and authorities allow their representatives to work with social media on their account.

As this paper analyzes social media policies within Swedish municipalities it also deals with rules beyond the complexities of the employee—employer relationship. Municipalities in Sweden are public authorities and, as such, are bound by the legal obligations of Offentlighetsprincipen and Meddelarfriheten.