Social Media Team: Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy

This is a living document and will be updated regularly by the Media Working Group.

This document is specifically for social media teams. If you wish to become involved in said, there are two routes: either via your Regional or Constituency Society – who may run their own accounts with the support of the MWG – or via the Media Working Group’s Social Media Teams. Join the Media Working Group and ask for more info if you are interested and wish to volunteer your time.

The Social Media Policy Document (by the Media Working Group)

Rules of Engagement:

Refer to these when considering how to approach matters on social media. Please remember: if in doubt, COLLABORATE. Delay is not criminal!

What Should I Make Sure To Do When Replying or Posting?

  • Always be polite.
  • Hear people & prioritise: them first, then us. Always be compassionate & observant of what people say. As an intense example: if they mention their dog dying, empathise with that FIRST. Birthday? Wish them happy birthday first. It doesn’t matter if it takes multiple replies on, for example, Twitter. Be decent.
  • Avoid personal viewpoints. Remember that when on a Party account, you are speaking for the Membership, not yourself – even though you, yourself, are a Party Member. Don’t be afraid to go get your personal account involved in a conversation if you fancy it, though!
  • Use the Golden Circle: start in the middle with Why, then move through How to What. This is by far the best marketing strategy and is widely used by the most successful companies, such as Apple (“Think Different”). For more info on this, look up Simon Sinek’s very informative TED talk on the matter.
  • Be readable. Fewer syllables, less jargon, and only sparse references to “theory” are helpful – but do not condescend; people can and will ask wtf you’re on about if they need to. If you need to communicate about praxis, or class consciousness, or whatever, that is not a problem, it is an opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: collaboration is praxis, comrade!
  • Whenever you post an image, post ALT text. Because not all screenreaders appear to perfectly function with Facebook/Twitter/etc, we advise that you add the text in the following format below the main body of text in your post / tweet, adding extra tweets as necessary:
[ALT text:
A shocked looking winged cat, looking to the “camera”, flies above a field of wheat through which runs a lone girl. The words “So naughty” are floating in bright red above her against the backdrop of the blue sky.]

When Can I Reply?

  • You can reply to users if they ask questions, but should restrict all answers to known Party consensus or factual information about the Party. If unsure, check on the Moot with a comrade.
  • You can reply to users if pushback on a point of view is valuable. For example, against racism, ableism, sexism, transphobia, or other forms of bigotry. When doing so, COLLABORATE. Get on the Moot. Ask for support from comrades in crafting your replies, and also ask for backup from individual users where willing.
  • You can reply if your team has agreed to do so on a given trigger word or set of words, for example relating to certain agreed Party policy or a particular campaign the Party is supporting or engaged in. An example might be a standing decision to regularly search for the phrase “new party uk” and advertise the Party accordingly in appropriate threads.

When Should I Not Reply?

  • Do not reply to trolls unless there is special value in “pushback” against certain points of view, or unless it is necessary to inform others that you are hiding their tweet (see below). BUT: when doing so, as above, COLLABORATE. Get on the Moot. Ask for support from comrades in crafting your replies, and also ask for backup from individual users where willing.

What Content Can I Use In Posts?

Firstly, regardless of repetition of the point, it is vital to utterly avoid aggression and hatred of any kind on any Party-affiliated social media account.

Content should be collaboratively approved by your specific team. Your team should determine a quorum for this, and that quorum should be clearly stored. Your team should create a document called the Team Log which records key decisions such as the quorum number, ideally including the justification for that decision in brief. This document should only be added to, not subtracted from, so that old decisions are retained.

As it is the responsbility of the Secretary of the Media Working Group to track & record such decisions, even in “sub units” like teams, you must be sure to provide them (or the appropriate interim functionary) with copies of your team’s Process Document whenever an addition is made.

All media content (images, audio, video, any combination thereof) posted on social media MUST also be posted to the appropriate section of the Google Drive. (Consult your team for which is the appropriate section.)

Content produced & shared on the Google Drive by the Media Working Group or the Society for Presentation of Policy should be assumed “useable”, but do verify that the content is not out of date with your team, and beyond your team if necessary on the Moot. Where judged out of date, remind the responsible party to remove the content from the Drive!

Community Safeguarding

When we initiate a conversation via post or tweet, we have responsibility, to an extent, for the resulting discussion. As such take care to consider, if you are on Twitter for example, whether replies should be open or not. Consider the likelihood that hate speech may ensue. Consider what steps can be taken to reduce those odds, but not at the cost of communication. Ensure people are safeguarded by our actions wherever possible.

If necessary it might be wise when posting on an inflammatory topic to prepare for certain reactions. Remember that the Research Working Group can be asked for support on finding information to back a position.

A number of things are not permitted in such discussions, and must be hidden on Twitter (or deleted on other platforms where possible). In all cases where content is hidden on Twitter, an extra tweet should be added to the main thread to warn people of the contents of the hidden replies, and to note that the content is there.

Our goal is never to curtail freedom of speech. It is, instead, to ensure people only encounter what they expect to encounter, and to oppose hate by speaking out against it strongly and clearly.

Therefore, please hide the following content in our own threads:

  • violent imagery of any kind
  • references to violence, regardless of the target
  • hatespeech of ANY kind
  • insults against named or pictured people

Where appropriate, you should also report the content via the platform’s tools. If you are unsure of how to report a particular type of content, COLLABORATE: consult your team. If you are unsure of whether something meets criteria: COLLABORATE – consult your team.

What Is Hate? How Do I Avoid It And/Or Identify It?

When in doubt, your team should consult the Committee for Resolutions via a Party Secretary (or directly if you have members in common!). The Party will be using its own, internally developed Working Definitions. If these are not yet available (note: this is currently the case), an “adhoc” approach is advised: again, collaborate, but outside your team.

Where possible, include people from the appropriate groups (for example: consult black or brown people on racism, trans people/groups on transmisia, or disabled/disability people/groups on ableism).

When doing so, remember that this Party seeks to raise the bar: therefore we should not simply assume that existing definitions are good enough, but instead evaluate how they may be improved upon. The goal, as ever, is reduction of suffering.

This final section will need an update once the Committee for Resolutions produces its first Annexe for the Constitution on Hate.

Team Organising

This section covers social media team organisational strategies and provides some basic outlines of how to operate a non-hierarchical team – a team with no designated leader and no coercive hierarchies at all.

Tips for Harmony in a Non-Hierarchical Team

Listen to each other. When someone is talking, respect that. If necessary, make notes so you remember what you wanted to say later; it eases the pressure. But don’t stop listening!

Try not to dismiss each others ideas, and try not to let anyone “lose”. Everyone should contribute; try to work their idea in, if that’s not impractical, or encourage them to produce ideas that are workable if it is.

Be honest about your needs before you’re grumpy about them. If what’s happening right now is slowing things down or making it hard for you to focus, people need to know. Trust each other to react productively and it is much more likely to happen.

Remember it’s OK to be quiet. If you don’t have anything to say, that’s fine. You might have something to contribute later.

Remember it’s also OK to have a lot to say. Try not to hog the spotlight, but if you really know this topic, and it’s good for the group for you to contribute your knowledge, then that’s great! Get into the melee.

If you need adaptations from the rest of us, please ask for them. We want to include you – your voice matters here.

Guidance on Team Structure and Process

Each social media site (Facebook, Twitter, etc) shall have a team. Each team is organised by the Media Working Group. Membership in the MWG is required – transitory or not – for participation in these teams, typically, although guest work is fine.

Teams should operate by consensus. If you experience logjam, you may feel free to request a ballot operated by the Media Secretary or by the appropriate interim Party Officer. Please do not resolve disputes by informal votes that are not recorded.

Ensure that your Team Log is kept up to date and that after every addition (as a result of a decision) the Media Secretary (or appropriate interim Party Officer) is kept in the loop on changes to policy in your team.