When planning the launch of any new environment where the focus is on people, some organizations feel the need to establish a long list of rules or “Don’t Do’s” before the doing even gets started. The biggest fear is that bad behaviours will take root and the organization will be unable to manage or bring their users back from the edge of anarchy.
But in reality this is rarely the case. We live in a time where almost everyone within the corporate (and non-corporate) world is familiar with an online presence – especially when its tied to their workplace. Employees (users) readily self-govern themselves and each other. Most are quick to jump in and provide guidance and even call out bad behaviour. Establishing a long list of rules and regulations for a user to adhere to before they’ve even gotten accustom to the new environment is a sure way of stifling its growth.
It is understood that some basic rules of engagement should be laid out, these can be used to provide general guidance and act as a remainder for users. The following is an example of a network etiquette guide I created for my Yammer Community Manager Certification project.
As you can see, the guide statements are positive and to the point. They specifically refer to one’s behaviour within the environment rather than focusing on any negative activities of the user. In some instances, an organization might even mention that accessing the service itself binds the user to their internal “Code of Conduct”. But again, the statements should be specific, on point and positive.
Remember the best rule of thumb for Social – Keep It Simple.