policy and procedures 1-53/mgr revised: july 2010 social media use policy, standards and procedures policy statement purpose

POLICY AND PROCEDURES 1-53/MGR
Revised: July 2010
SOCIAL MEDIA USE POLICY, STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
POLICY STATEMENT
Purpose
To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way
residents and businesses communicate and obtain information about the
City of Palo Alto online, the City of Palo Alto’s (the “City”)
departments may consider using social media tools to reach a broader
audience. The City encourages the use of social media to further the
goals of the City and the missions of its departments, where
appropriate.
The City has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what
is “announced” or "spoken" on behalf of the City on social media
sites. This policy establishes internal procedures for the use of
social media.
What is “social media”? “Social media” and “Web 2.0” are terms used
interchangeably to refer to activities that integrate technology,
social interaction and content creation. This media allows people to
generate, organize, share, edit and comment on web content by means of
RSS and other web feeds, blogs, mashups, widgets, wikis, podcasts and
photo- and video-sharing, to name a few.
General
*
All of the City’s social media sites that are posted by
departments and offices will be subject to approval by the
Communications Manager or designee.
*
The City's website (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org) will remain the
City's primary and predominant internet presence.
*
The most appropriate uses of social media tools are as
informational channels to increase the City's ability to broadcast
its messages to the widest possible audience.
*
Social media will not be the primary tool used for
disseminating emergency information. The CANS system will
remain the primary source of that information. Emergency
information may be released on social media sites, but not
before release on the CANS or other emergency information
systems.
*
Wherever possible, content posted to the City’s social media sites
will also be made available on the City's website.
*
Wherever possible, content posted to the City’s social media sites
must contain hyperlinks directing users back to the City's
official website for in-depth information, forms, documents or
online services necessary to conduct business with the City of
Palo Alto.
*
As is the case for the City's website, the department’s director
or designee will be responsible for the content and upkeep
(including maintenance and monitoring) of any social media site
that department may create.
*
Wherever possible, the City’s social media sites shall comply with
all appropriate City of Palo Alto policies and procedures,
including but not limited to:
*
1-08; 1-17; 1-19; 1-24; 1-30; 1-35; 1-40; and 1-52.
*
Any exceptions will be approved by the IT Division (CIO or
designee) and/or the City Manager’s Office and the
Communication Manager dependent on the policy.
*
The City’s social media sites shall comply with the City’s
conflict of interest code and applicable ethics rules and
policies.
*
The City’s social media sites are subject to the California Public
Records Act and Proposition 59, amending Article 1, Section 3 of
the California Constitution. Any content maintained in a social
media format that is related to City business, including a list of
subscribers and posted communication (with certain exceptions), is
a public record. The Department maintaining the site is
responsible for responding completely and accurately to any public
records request for public records on social media; provided,
however, such requests shall be handled in collaboration with the
City Attorney’s Office. Content related to City business shall be
maintained in an accessible format and so that it can be produced
in response to a request (see the City’s Twitter, Facebook and
Video Posting standards). Wherever possible, such sites shall
clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or
submitted for posting may be or are subject to public disclosure
upon request. Users shall be notified that public disclosure
requests must be directed to the relevant department’s director or
designee.
*
California law and relevant City records retention schedules apply
to social media formats and social media content. Unless otherwise
addressed in a specific social media standards document, the
department maintaining a site shall preserve records required to
be maintained pursuant to a relevant records retention schedule
for the required retention period on a City server in a format
that preserves the integrity of the original record and is easily
accessible. Appropriate retention formats for specific social
media tools are detailed in the City’s Twitter, Facebook and Video
Posting standards.
*
Users and visitors to the City’s social media sites shall be
notified that the intended purpose of the site is to serve as a
means of communication between City departments and members of the
public. The City’s social media site articles, posts and comments
containing any of the following forms of content shall not be
allowed and shall be removed as soon as possible:
*
Profane language or content
*
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
*
Sexual content or links to sexual content
*
Solicitations of commerce
*
Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
*
Information that may compromise the safety or security of the
public or public systems
*
Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other
party
Users shall be informed by posting to the City’s social media sites
that the City disclaims any and all responsibility and liability for
any materials that the City deems inappropriate for posting, which
cannot be removed in an expeditious and otherwise timely manner.
*
These guidelines must be displayed to users or made available by
hyperlink. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be
retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster when
available (see the City’s Twitter, Facebook and Video Posting
standards), in accordance with the City’s policy on the retention
of such information.
*
The City reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that
is deemed in violation of this policy or any applicable law.
*
The City will approach the use of social media tools as
consistently as possible, enterprise wide.
*
All new social media tools proposed for City use will be approved
by the IT Division (CIO or designee) and the City Manager’s
Office.
PROCEDURES
Administration of the City’s Social Media Sites
*
The IT Division will maintain a list of social media tools which
are approved for use by City departments and staff.
*
The IT Division will maintain a list of the City’s social media
sites, including login and password information. The department’s
director or designee will inform the IT Division of any new social
media sites or administrative changes to existing sites.
*
The City must be able to immediately edit or remove content from
social media sites.
*
For each social media tool approved for use by the City the
following documentation will be developed and adopted:
*
Operational and use guidelines
*
Standards and processes for managing accounts on social media
sites
*
City and departmental branding standards
*
Enterprise-wide design standards
*
Standards for the administration of social media sites
*
Social Media Standards
The following social media tools have been approved by the City and
standards have been developed for their use:
Twitter - Twitter Standard
Facebook - Facebook Standard
Video - Video Posting Standard
The use of other sites must be approved by the IT Division and the
Communications Manager or designee.
TWITTER STANDARD
Purpose
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows account holders to tweet
up to 140 characters of information to followers. By procuring and
maintaining Twitter accounts, City departments will communicate
information directly to their Twitter followers, alerting them to news
and directing them to the City’s website for more information. These
standards should be used in conjunction with the City's Social Media
Use Policy, Standards and Procedures.
Content
*
A department’s director or designee shall hold and maintain that
department's Twitter account.
*
Each department will have only one Twitter account, unless
otherwise approved by the Communication Manager. Account
information, including usernames and passwords, shall be
registered with the IT Division.
*
A department's Twitter biography and/or background information
will include a link to City’s website where the following
disclaimer information will be posted:
*
“This is an official City of Palo Alto Twitter account. For
more information about the City of Palo Alto please visit
www.cityofpaloalto.org. This site is intended to serve as a
mechanism for communication between the public and the
department on the listed topics and as a forum to further the
mission of the department. Any direct tweets to this page and
its list of followers may be considered a public record which
is subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public
Records Act. Public information requests must be directed to
the Communications Manager.”
*
Twitter usernames shall begin with "Palo Alto" (PaloAltoPD,
PaloAltoFire and PaloAltoMgr). In cases where the username
consists of too many characters, begin with "PA."
*
The main image shall be the Department logo or an appropriate
photo. It may also be the City's logo which will be provided by
the Communications Manager or designee. If the City logo is not
used as the main image it should be in the background section.
*
Twitter accounts shall serve three primary purposes:
*
Disseminate immediate interesting or important information to
residents of which a news item on the City’s website is not
necessary or possible
*
Promote City-sponsored meetings, events, programs and
facilities
*
Refer followers to a news item or content hosted at the City’s
website and the department’s Facebook page
*
Information posted on Twitter shall conform to the existing
protocols the City and the department that is posting the
information. Tweets shall be relevant, timely and informative.
*
Twitter content, as much as possible, shall mirror information
presented on the City’s website and other existing
information-dissemination mechanisms. The department’s director or
designee shall ensure that information is posted correctly the
first time.
*
Departments will use proper grammar and standard AP style, and
will avoid the use of jargon and abbreviations. Twitter is more
casual than most other communication tools, but communications
must still best represent the City at all times.
*
The department’s director or designee shall be responsive to those
constituents who communicate via Twitter's @reply or direct
message functions. Communication with followers will be timely and
consistent with existing protocols.
Archive
*
The department’s director or designee will maintain an electronic
record or printout of any information necessary to retain for the
purposes of public records retention in accordance with applicable
City policy regarding retention of such information that is not
available from the application.
FACEBOOK STANDARD
Purpose
Facebook is a social networking site that continues to grow in
popularity and functionality. Businesses and government agencies have
joined individuals in using Facebook to promote activities, programs,
projects and events. This standard is designed for City departments
looking to drive traffic to department websites and to inform more
people about City activities. These standards should be used in
conjunction with the Social Media Use policy and video posting policy.
As Facebook changes, these standards may be updated as needed.
Establishing a Page
Whenever a department determines it has a business need for a Facebook
account, it will submit a request to the Communications Manager or
designee. Once approved, the IT Division will work with the department
to create a basic page for the department. Applications are not to be
added to the City’s Facebook site without the express written approval
of the IT Division. The department’s director or designee will
register the page with a City email address. Personal Facebook
profiles should not be used to administrate City pages unless approved
by the Communications Manager or designee.
Type of “Pages”
*
The City will create “pages” in Facebook (not “groups”). Facebook
”pages” offer distinct advantages including greater visibility,
customization and measurability.
Format
*
For 'type' description, choose “government.”
*
The main image shall be the Department logo or an appropriate
photo. It may also be the City's logo and the City logo must be
one of the profile pictures.
*
Departments will include a mission statement or appropriate text
in the introduction box on the Wall Page.
*
Using the FBML static page application, a boilerplate section
should contain a department/program description and the following:
*
“This is an official Facebook page of the City of Palo Alto.
For more information about the City of Palo Alto please visit
www.cityofpaloalto.org. This site is intended to serve as a
mechanism for communication between the public and the
department on the listed topics and as a forum to further the
mission of the department. Any comment submitted to this page
and its list of fans may be considered a public record which
is subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public
Records Act. Public information requests must be directed to
the Communications Manager.”
*
If comments are turned on, the FBML page shall also include a
Comment Policy Box with the following disclaimer:
*
“Comments posted to this page will be monitored and
inappropriate content will be removed as soon as possible.
Under the City of Palo Alto Social Media Use Policy, Standards
and Procedures, the City reserves the right to remove
inappropriate content, including, but not limited to, those
items that have obscene language or sexual content, threaten
or defame any person or organization, violate the legal
ownership interest of another party, promote illegal activity
and promote commercial services or products. The City
disclaims any and all responsibility and liability for any
materials that the City deems inappropriate for posting, which
cannot be removed in an expeditious and otherwise timely
manner.”
*
The page shall be linked to the City’s Facebook page.
*
A link to www.cityofpaloalto.org will be included on the Info
page.
*
City department and project pages should be fans of other City
Facebook pages.
*
The page name must be descriptive of the department. Each
department will choose carefully with due consideration given to
abbreviations, slang iterations, and proper grammatical usage.
*
The Communications Manager or designee will approve proposed
names.
Page Administrators
*
A successful page requires consistent attention. The department’s
director will designate one or more staff members as page
administrators who will be responsible for monitoring the
department’s Facebook page. Only designated department staff
members will make posts.
*
The department’s director or designee will be responsible for
ensuring content is not stale. The department will designate one
or more back-up administrators.
Comments and Discussion Boards
*
Comments to the Wall generally will be allowed if the department
is able to and does regularly monitor content. If the department
is unable to do so, comments to the Wall shall be turned off.
Discussion Boards shall be turned off unless approved by the
Communications Manager or designee.
Photos and Video
*
Page administrators may add photos and videos to the department’s
Facebook page. The approval of the City Manager and/or the
Communications Manager will not be required. If there are postings
of photos and/or videos of the public, staff must secure waivers
by individuals depicted in the photo and/or video. Photos and/or
videos of the City’s employees taken during regular office hours
may be posted without obtaining waivers. Videos must follow the
Video Posting Standard.
*
The ability for fans to post photos, videos and links shall be
turned off unless approved by the Communications Manager or
designee.
Style
*
The City’s and the departments’ Facebook pages will be based upon
a template that includes consistent City branding.
*
The IT Division will provide departments and offices with the
template.
*
Departments will use proper grammar and standard AP style, and
will avoid the use of jargon and abbreviations. Facebook is more
casual than most other communication tools, but communications
must still best represent the City at all times.
Applications
*
There are thousands of Facebook applications. Common applications
can allow users to stream video and music, post photos, and view
and subscribe to RSS feeds. While some may be useful to the page's
mission, they can cause clutter and security risks.
*
An application must not be used unless it serves an appropriate
and a valid business purpose, adds to the user experience, comes
from a trusted source, and is approved by the IT Division.
*
An application may be removed at any time if the City determines
that it is causing a security breach or spreading viruses.
Archive
*
The department’s director or designee will maintain an electronic
record or printout of any information necessary to retain for the
purposes of public records retention in accordance with applicable
City policy regarding retention of such information that is not
available from the application.
A Note about Indemnity
*
Most online sites require users to agree to terms of service that
include such provisions as:
1. Indemnification and Defense. When a public agency creates an
account on a social media site, it typically must agree not to sue the
site, nor allow the site to be included in suits against the agency.
Many sites also require the account owner to pay the site's legal
costs arising from such suits.
2. Applicable Law and Venue. Most terms of service also assert that a
certain state's laws (usually California, but not necessarily always)
apply to the terms of use and that the state’s courts will adjudicate
disputes.
- The terms of service represent a binding contract; public agencies
should assure that they have taken the steps necessary to bind the
agency to such an agreement.
- Some companies are willing to negotiate on the substantive
provisions in the terms of use, but they may be hesitant to negotiate
separate agreements with dozens of different agencies. For example,
the FAQ on the “Facebook and Government” page indicates that “at this
time Facebook does not have any special legal agreements for state and
local governments.”
VIDEO POSTING STANDARD
Purpose
The City will enable access to online video content, as this is the
way many residents communicate and obtain information online. Key
objectives for video content shall meet one or more of the follow
goals: to further the department’s mission, provide information about
City services, showcase City and community events and explore City
issues The City encourages the use of video content to further the
goals of the City and the missions of its departments, where
appropriate. These standards should be used in conjunction with the
City's Social Media Use Policy, Standards and Procedures.
Video Posting Guidelines
*
The department’s director or designee will be responsible for
approving the video content.
*
Video quality must be comparable to DVD resolution quality.
*
Low quality video will be considered as long as the audio portion
is clear and the content is compelling and informative.
*
All videos must be posted on the department’s website and the
department’s Facebook page.
*
The department must secure a disclaimer from the author or owner
or the right to use all of or part of a video if the video was not
produced by the department or any other City department.
*
Videos streamed from other sources may not be posted to the City’s
website. Links to external videos are permitted, but it must only
be used when content is relevant and necessary approvals are
received.
Submitting Videos to Hosting Sites
*
Videos may be submitted to hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo
as well as Facebook on a case-by-case basis under the direction of
the department’s director or designee.
*
Most of these sites limit the video to the lesser of 10 minutes in
length or less than 1 GB of data storage.
*
Comments posted to these sites must be monitored or the ability to
post a comment shall be turned off. Comments must adhere to the
guidelines stated in the Social Media Use Policy.
Archive
*
Any video posted to a third party’s video site must also be posted
the department’s website for purposes of records retention.
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