Home Section 6 – Think about
Considering some practical features of social media, like how sites typically work and how people use them, can help guide your choices as technologies and people’s habits evolve.
Audience and Permanence
Could you be easily identified on your social media accounts as a BC Public Service employee? If so, that may contribute to some unintended consequences.
- Your social media name, profile, and photos influence how people associate your work identity with your social media activity.
- If you list your job title or place of work or have photos of you next to government vehicles or in uniform, people will draw a connection between your work duties and what you post; what you post may undermine their trust and confidence in government. You may even be in a conflict of interest if the social media account is used to promote a side business. Carefully consider these choices when deciding what to post.
- Official government logos or other branding images can be used only for authorized and official government business, not for personal use.
- Disclaimers such as “Opinions are my own” may help clarify that the social account doesn’t speak on behalf of the BC government or your ministry. This doesn’t remove your obligations as a public servant. A disclaimer may not be enough to avoid perceptions that you are sharing insider information, lending weight to opinions through your position, or in a conflict of interest.
When people see from your profile or photos that you’re a public servant, they’ll think differently about what you post.
Audience and Permanence
When you share something on social media, you may only be thinking about a narrow or particular audience. However, your personal social media activities may reach a wider audience than you expect in the moment.
- When work colleagues are added to your online social network (e.g. added as Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections), your work colleagues are now part of the audience for your activities in that network.
- Because social media is social and digital, what you intend to be private may become public. Before posting, consider carefully what would happen if your words or images were visible to a wider audience.
- Even on social media platforms like Snapchat that are designed to be impermanent, your words or images can be captured. Technology may be designed to function in one way, but people may choose to interact with it differently. For example, in seeing offensive content in a colleague’s social media, someone might take a photograph or screenshot of that content.
- We have no control over how social media platforms operate as they are third party sites. Always err on the side of discretion.