Document Purpose
This policy is intended to provide employees, suppliers, providers, contractors and business partners of My Practical Support and its related companies with clarity on the use of social media platforms.

Document Scope
Social media is online media that allows for interaction and/or participation.

Examples (not exhaustive) include:
• Social networking and micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, Foursquare, Tumblr and Pinterest.
• Video and photo sharing sites like Flickr, Instagram and YouTube.
• Online forums, Wiki’s and discussion blogs, including comments on online news.
• Other websites that allow individual users to easily upload and share content.

My Practical Support has a well-established presence across a range of social media channels. These channels are used as additional communication and promotion tools to complement our existing communication and marketing avenues.

Predominantly social media is being used to provide My Practical Support’s employees, customers, Business partners, supporters, and the general public with:

• informative information and service updates;
• “help-seeking” messages;
• community interaction, and
• an avenue to support My Practical Support, whilst also learning about the organisation, our services, resources and campaigns.

This document aims to establish a process by which My Practical Support’s official social media interactions can be managed with the best interests of My Practical Support’s brand and reputation in mind.

This policy also sets out expected behaviour for people who do not officially represent My Practical Support on social media but could, through their behaviour, impact on the reputation of My Practical Support, our Brand and our services. Whilst the above examples are the predominant social media channels used by My Practical Support, this protocol may be applied in a common sense way to other social media channels used by My Practical Support’s employees, customers, our supporters, and the general public, or by My Practical Support in the future.


Social Media
For the purpose of this policy, social media is defined as ‘any conversation, dialogue or activity that occurs online, where people can share information or data that might impact on My Practical Support or the people who use our services’.

Official use
Official use is when an employee, contractor, customer, business partner or supporter is using social media as a representative of My Practical Support with permission from the Managing Director or Head of Legal Services. An alternative definition is when an employee or contractor is posting from a social media account that is labelled as an official “My Practical Support” account, i.e. not a distinct individual person.

Posts from a “My Practical Support” account must:

• Comply with My Practical Support’s ethics, requirements and the guiding principles stipulated within this policy;
• Do no harm; and
• Not promote individual staff and/or businesses or money making ventures, or individual political candidates, preferences or Parties.

NOTE – You do not have permission (express or implied) for official use of social media as a purported representative of My Practical Support. There are specific staff within My Practical Support that are responsible for engaging with customers, our supporters and the general public in an official capacity online.

Personal use
Personal use is when an employee, contractor, customer, business partner or supporter is using social media as themselves, not officially representing My Practical Support but identifying themselves as affiliated with My Practical Support in their online biographies, profiles or posts, or through other digital platforms.

People who are employees, contractors, customers, business partners or supporters who do not identify themselves as being affiliated to My Practical Support are still counted as representing the organisation, as the nature of the online world means they could be traced back to the organisation through their online presence.

Posts from these accounts must therefore:

• Comply with My Practical Support’s ethics, requirements and the guiding principles stipulated within this policy;
• Do no harm; and
• Not promote individual staff and/or businesses or money making ventures, or individual political candidates, preferences or Parties.

NOTE – Personal use of social media is encouraged provided the requirements and guiding principles contained in this Policy are met. Individuals who are employees, contractors, customers, business partners or supporters of My Practical Support do not have permission to post official My Practical Support content. They can, however, repost, retweet etc My Practical Support’s posts, material or comment without substantial or meaningful change as part of showing their affiliation or support for the organisation.

My Practical Support’s employees, volunteers and supporters are encouraged to participate in social media. Whenever My Practical Support’s employees, volunteers or supporters are interacting on social media, whether in an official or personal capacity (see above for definitions), there should be adherence to the following requirements.

• I will not criticise customers, colleagues, My Practical Support or its Business partners.
• I will respond to others’ opinions respectfully and professionally and will disclose conflicts of interest where I am able.
• I will not do anything that breaches terms of employment or a contract.
• I will not harass, bully or intimidate or post material that is obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, discriminatory or hateful to another person or entity.
• I will promptly acknowledge and correct mistakes.
• I will not knowingly post inaccurate information.
• I will directly link to online references and original source materials.
• I will be polite, considerate, kind and fair.
• I will always ensure my activity does no harm.

Guiding principles
Setting up Social Media:

Social media identities, logon ID's and user names may not use My Practical Support’s name without prior approval from the Managing Director or Head of Legal Services.

Maintain Confidentiality
It is ordinarily acceptable to talk in general terms about your work and have a dialogue with the community, but it's not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information by way of example includes things such as unpublished details about our software, details of current projects, future key dates, financial information, research, and trade secrets. We must respect the wishes of our corporate customers regarding the confidentiality of current projects. We must also be mindful of the competitiveness of our industry.

Protect your own Privacy
If you identify yourself as an employee of My Practical Support in a social media site, you should be aware that this information may be searchable, even by people who are not your ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ online. You should familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions and privacy notices of the social media sites you use and adjust their privacy settings according to your own needs. However, you should not rely on a site’s security settings for a guarantee of privacy, as material posted in a relatively secure setting can still be copied and reproduced elsewhere. Further, comments posted on one site can also be used on others under the terms and conditions of many social media sites.

Even when material is posted anonymously, or using an ‘alias’ or pseudonym, you should bear in mind that even if you do not identify yourself online as an employee of My Practical Support, you could nonetheless be recognised as such.

As a rule of thumb, irrespective of the forum, anyone who posts material online should make an assumption that at some point their identity and the nature of their employment will be revealed. Social media websites are public forums. Inappropriate public comment on such sites could put you at risk of breaching this policy.

Be honest
Do not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for My Practical Support. Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and also be cautious about disclosing personal details.

Respect Copyright Laws
It is imperative that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others including My Practical Support’s own copyrights and brands. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else's work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to others' work rather than reproduce it.

Respect your audience, My Practical Support, and your co-workers
My Practical Support’s employees and customers and the General Public have a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don't post anything contradictory or in conflict with the My Practical Support’s website. Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory - such as politics and religion. Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of My Practical Support. For example on Twitter, you might have this for your “bio” - “Likes fashion and sport, interested in politics and the news, works for My Practical Support, opinions my own, RTs not endorsement”.

Protect My Practical Support’s customers, business partners and suppliers
Customers, suppliers or Business partners should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval. Never identify a customer, partner or supplier by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of a customer engagement. It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds of projects and to use non-identifying pseudonyms for a customer (e.g., Customer 123) so long as the information provided does not violate any non-disclosure agreements that may be in place with the customer or make it easy for someone to identify the customer. Your blog is not the place to "conduct business" with a customer.

Controversial issues
If you see misrepresentations made about My Practical Support in the media, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments. Brawls may earn traffic, but nobody wins in the end. Don't try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Make sure what you are saying is factually correct and bring the dialogue to the attention of the Managing Director or Head of Legal Services.

Be the first to respond to your own mistakes
If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly - better to immediately remove it to lessen the possibility of a legal action.

Think about consequences
For example, consider what might happen if a My Practical Support employee is in a meeting with a customer or prospect and the customer's representative pulls out a print-out of your blog and says "This person at My Practical Support says that product sucks”. This is clearly risky, amateurish and potentially offensive. Once again, it's all about judgment and common sense: using your blog to trash or embarrass My Practical Support, our customers, or your co-workers, is dangerous and ill-advised.

Use a disclaimer to ensure your views and opinions are understood to be your own and not those of My Practical Support. An example of a disclaimer is: “I am not speaking on behalf of My Practical Support, this is my personal opinion”. This is good practice and is encouraged, but it provides no guarantee of avoiding trouble – legal or otherwise.

Don't forget your day job
Make sure that blogging does not interfere with your job or commitments to customers.

Social Media Tips
The following tips are not mandatory, but will help contribute to successful use of social media.
The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. Otherwise there is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.

Quality matters
Use a spell-checker. If you're not design-oriented, ask someone who is whether your blog looks decent, and take their advice on how to improve it.

The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a potential downfall of social media. Taking time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, either let it sit and look at it again before publishing it, or ask someone else to look at it first.

Inappropriate use
Inappropriate use of social media includes, (but not limited to):

• Conducting a private business on My Practical Support’s social media presence.
• Using discriminatory, defamatory, abusive or otherwise objectionable language.
• Stalking, bullying, trolling or marginalising any individual or group.
• Accessing or uploading pornographic, gambling or illegal content, including extreme images of graphic content (blood and gore etc) or information regarding activity relating to firearms, bombs, terrorism etc.
• Accessing sites that promote hatred or extreme/fundamental beliefs and values.
• Direct political affiliation, unless an individual is running for election (but only on a personal account).
• Uploading information of a confidential nature, especially in regards to My Practical Support, services, customers or Business partners.
• Hacking or attempting to infiltrate the systems of My Practical Support or another organisation.
• Criticising or denigrating My Practical Support or other organisations, and our/their employees, partners or supporters.
• Activity that interferes with work commitments.
• Activity that uses excessive bandwidth, either uploading or downloading within My Practical Support’s network.
• Any paid endorsements, including in kind services or gifts.
• Activity that brings My Practical Support or the person’s professionalism or ability to act in a professional manner into disrepute.

NOTE - It is the duty of everyone who is affiliated with My Practical Support to alert either the Managing Director or Head of Legal Services to any inappropriate content they may come across.

Policy Breach
Misuse of social media can have serious consequences for My Practical Support. Consequently that misuse may necessitate or result in disciplinary or legal action. Suppliers, providers and Business partners of My Practical Support are responsible for ensuring adherence to the Social Media Policy by their staff, agents and partners. This includes undertaking appropriate risk assessment and performance management or disciplinary action of any suspected or identified breach.

NOTE: For Members, in the event of serious misconduct, disciplinary action up to and including summary dismissal may occur.