THE GRAND RIVER SOCCER CLUB SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY & GUIDELINES
This policy governs the publication of and commentary on social media by volunteers, employees, referees, contractors and Members of the Grand River Soccer Club. For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wiki’s, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and YouTube and any team websites or applications. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet. Club volunteers, employees, referees, contractors and Members are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy. Club employees are subject to this policy to the extent they identify themselves as an employee of the club (other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on topics unrelated to the Club).
Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary. All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that the Club must otherwise follow. Club volunteers, employees, referees, contractors and members are not permitted to:
- Post information, photos, or other representations of sexual content, inappropriate behaviour, or items that could be interpreted as demeaning or inflammatory.
- Post any racial, sexist, homophobic, anti-religious or any other comments of that nature to members or non-members. Post any comments that could be deemed derogatory about other the league, players, team officials, teams, club officials, clubs or referees.
- Comment on injuries, officiating, or team matters that could reasonably be expected to be confidential.
- Post any threats of violence or harassment.
The Grand River Soccer Club board reserves the right to delete comments in violation of this policy. Club volunteers, employees, referees, contractors and members must always follow the guidelines established by the Social Media website being used. Any online postings must be consistent with the Grand River Soccer Club policies and guidelines.
Don’t Tell Secrets
It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it’s not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes things such as unpublished details about our financial information, upcoming projects, membership, research, and trade secrets.
Protect your own privacy
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the club website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
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. 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 critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others; including the Clubs 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, the Club, and your colleagues
The public in general, and the Club volunteers, employees, referees, contractors and members reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don’t say anything contradictory or in conflict with our website. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, 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 the Club.
Protect our customers, business partners and suppliers
Members and partners should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval. Never identify a member and partner by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of customer engagement. It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds of projects and to use non identifying pseudonyms for 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 member or make it easy for someone to identify the member. Your blog is not the place to “conduct business” with a member or partner.
If you see misrepresentations made about the Club in the media, simply 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.
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 remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.
Think About Consequences
For example, consider what might happen if a Club Member is in a meeting with a member or partner, and someone on the customer’s side pulls out a print-out of your blog and says “This person at the Club says that member sucks. “Saying “Project X needs to have an easier learning curve for the first time user” is fine; saying “Project X sucks” is risky, unsubtle and amateurish. Once again, it’s all about judgment: using your blog to trash or embarrass the Club, our customers, or your co-workers, is dangerous and ill-advised.
Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but don’t count on it to avoid trouble – it may not have much legal effect. Wherever practical, you must use a disclaimer that states while you work or volunteer for the Club, anything you publish is your personal opinion, and not necessarily the opinions of the Club.
Don’t forget your day job.
Make sure that blogging does not interfere with your job or commitments to members.
Social Media Tips
The following tips are not mandatory, but will 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. 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 great downfall of social media. The 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.
These Guidelines should be used in conjunction with Ontario Soccer, District, and Club guidelines.
Policy violations will be subject to investigation and possible disciplinary action by the Grand River Soccer Club, up to and including temporary or permanent suspension from the team or termination of membership from the Club for cause. Violations may be subject to further Disciplinary action under OS policy 1.67, “Acted in a manner deemed to be detrimental to the game”, (until such time that Ontario Soccer issues a Social Media Policy.)
If you have any doubt about posting content on any social media sites, please consult with the GRS Club Manager. Due to the evolving nature of social media, these policies and guidelines are subject to revision by the GRSC Board.