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Social Media Participation Policy for an Individual – w/ example

Uncle! I’m officially overwhelmed. This week, Google launched Buzz and suddenly my already under-serviced, over-informed social media channels went sagging under the way of a brand new social media contender.

Its not fair. Especially to anyone who is expecting me to “show up” and contribute in the Social Media sphere. But in fairness to me, I’m feeling inundated with “channels”.


My brain grew up in the 1960s. We had 1 telephone line per household and it took 30 seconds to rotary dial it. I didn’t see an email until the 80s. I was taught that you should focus on a problem, not skip from one to the next to the next to the… or worse, do them all at once!

So I’ve been making a map to help me manage my Social Media channels. I WILL be the master of my communication Destiny! Soon. Read on to hear my plan…

Recently, Valeria Maltoni (Twitter: @conversationage ) asked if people regularly prune their under-used social channels. It sparked a short conversation between me (@skipshoe), @communimatrix and @conversationage.

Turns out that Colleen Wainwright is all over this. She has her Twitter Policy page, complete with her philosophy, top 5 reasons for using Twitter, her follow policy and her Twitter Colophon. (Yes .. I had to look up Colophon as well).

Colleen gives a nod to Ike’ Pigott’s Twitter Policy page. Ike focuses on how he plans to show up on Twitter – his follow policy and his rule that there are no rules (or at least no etiquette).

Valeria posted this ConversationAgent thread on the idea of how Valeria participates in in social networks while articulating her generous philosophy of:

  • be helpful
  • be in conversation
  • connect ideas and people

In that post, Valeria responds to a comment pointing out that individuals and organizations have different approaches to Social. In that spirit, I’ll start with my Social Media Participation Policy for @skipshoe.

I’m thinking that my participation policy needs to address my broad use and intent, the channels I plan to use, and topics I might cover. This is for my audience AND for me. If I can identify and commit to a handful of channels, then I can improve my effectiveness.

How about something like the following?

Channel: The name of the Social Network and Media Channel

Purpose: Why are you there.   Best not to make it completely self-serving… it is a 2+ person space, afterall

Topics: What kinds of topics am I looking to cover here.

Attire: How I plan to come to the party. From Professional to Business Casual… to Flip-flops, towel and beer.

Attendance: How often might you expect to find me here.  No promises… just an intention

Lets give it a try. I plan to do this for four channels: Twitter (@skipshoe), Facebook, TalkaboutTribes (this blog) and LinkedIn. I may add in some IRL (In Real Life) Networking channels and some specific online forums later.

Channel: TalkaboutTribes Blog (this blog)

Since this blog may have many contributors, this is only my perspective on using Talk about Tribes. Some of my colleagues may have a completely different take.

Purpose: To share, gain feedback and co-create ideas, strategies, frameworks and other perspectives around Social Media. I love the idea of tribes and tribe-building as a primal ground for our participation in today’s social networks. New generation tribes are emerging daily, which include the best of tribal practice, but transcend by incorporating new practices enabled by new technologies and new ways of thinking.

Topics: Ideas, strategies, frameworks and other perspectives around Social Media

Attire: I’ll be wearing my lab coat … with a scientist’s eye, I hope to dabble in anthropology, psychology, network theory, analytics and marketing

Attendance: I’ll be monitoring your comments regularly (multiple times a week). I’d love to be blogging 2-3 times a month. At least once a month is more likely.

LinkedIn Logo

Channel: LinkedIn

Purpose: To engage in conversation (sharing, listening, learning) around my profession as social media strategist, internet marketer and entrepreneurial coach. There is a strong IRL-virtual intersection here.

Topics: At the time of this writing, I’m following threads on Social Media Metrics, Analytics and ROI. Social Media Monitoring is a close second. These areas of focus will follow the cycles of my own professional learning and curiosity.

Attire: Professional attire – I’ll wear a sports coat. I hate ties.

Attendance: At least weekly. Oh yeah, I follow my friend Ed Callahan’s advice on only connect to people I’ve met in person. This really helps keep my network on LinkedIn strong. If you want to link to me and we haven’t met, we can connect outside of LinkedIn (here for example) or we can meet in person (I drink a lot of coffee).

11/20/2010 Update – I’ve had a ton LinkedIn requests from interesting people, but my policy has prevented me from Linking to them. As of today, I’m going to try another approach. I’ll let you know if this helps me create new, helpful connections or dilutes my LinkedIn network. If I haven’t met you in person, then you’ll get the following response:

Thanks for the invitation.
I used to follow LinkedIn’s recommendation and only connect networks with people I actually know. For me, that means we
met in person (or by phone) and had a conversation. How else can it be a trusted network? I’ve been using this rule for a couple of years now and it
really helped me to keep my LinkedIn network operating as a powerful resource for me and my colleagues.

However, recently there have been a number of interesting people and useful connections offering to connect with me through LinkedIn. If you are one of these people, please take a moment to explain why you think we should LinkIn. Do we share a common interest – or is there potential business synergy? Let me know. Also – please tell me something about you or your business that can help me create a visual or mental image of our new relationship.
If we met at a speaking engagement or some other event, please remind me of our conversation.
If we haven’t met in person (including by phone), We don’t have to connect networks to help each other. If there is something I can help you with, please use my email address below to let me know how.
If you feel there is an immediate opportunity to work together then lets set up a call or meeting – and we can LinkIn afterwards.
Thanks for understanding.

Channel: @SkipShoe

Purpose: Exploration, learning, sharing, joking, coordinating, water-cooler chatter.

Topics: Twitter probably best represents my work-life balance. I’ll talk about business stuff, especially sharing cool learnings about Social Media, but also Aikido, Integral Theory, parenting, my friends and the Philadelphia, Western ‘burbs lifestyle

Attire:Jeans and tee-shirt

Attendance: Erratic. I’m trying to use Tweetdeck and Gist to hone my Twitterfeeds into streams of really useful content, which I can then share – or comment on. But I might get busy and disappear for days on end. I will watch for your mentions or DMs. And if you DM me what looks like a broadcast message, I will probably unfollow you. I sometimes cross-post business stuff with @teamandadream, my company Twitter account.

Channel: Facebook

Purpose: Facebook can be addictive fun. I don’t take it seriously at all… but it keeps drawing me back in.

Topics: Mostly goofy stuff about things that happened in high-school (they didn’t have technology back then), commentary on life… or really just commenting on others commentary on life

Attire: 70’s clothing.

Attendance: I indulge probably once or twice a week

Channel: Meetup. Integral Philly Meetup Coordinator.

Purpose: Individual and collective development in and through an integral context.

Topics: Our intention is to practice both form and formlessness. We hold conversations to explore and unpack challenging topics raised by members using an AQAL (Integral Theory) lens. We actively explore movement, beauty, art, silence and nature.

Attire: My Gi for Dojo practice

Attendance: Weekly. This is mostly an event management site, although I do hope our members start participating in dialogue. Hmm. Maybe I need to seed some conversations?

So that’s my first cut at my personal Social Media Participation policy. Do you have one? If so, please share in a comment below. Anything you would change or add to what I’ve included here?

Let me know!

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