Social media is a term for communication related applications and websites based on user participation and user-generated content. They include social networking sites and other sites that are centred on user interaction, such as: blogs; wikis; social networks; forums; podcasts; and content communities.
There are a multitude of opinions on the effectiveness of social media, due to the success and the rise in popularity of the phenomenon.
We can sum up the precarious position we find ourselves in should we dare to use or abuse the phenomenon:-
Social media websites are no longer performing an envisaged function of creating a positive communication link among friends, family and professionals. It is a veritable battleground, where insults fly from the human quiver, damaging lives, destroying self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth.
At best it improves thumb to eye co-ordination, and at worst is a malevolent playing field.
So for those of us who are involved in volunteer organisations like our NGB, and hope to benefit from the experience with positive exposure for promotional and development purposes, we tread a minefield.
2. Social Media:Scottish Snooker (NGB)
a) Scottish Snooker respects the legal rights of our members. What you do in your own time, and where you do it, is your concern.
b) However, in line with Sportscotland and along with peer National and International associations, this policy has been developed to provide guidance for members on the acceptable use of social media relating to any aspect of Scottish Snooker, its officers, members, sponsors, affiliates and as representatives of Scottish Snooker at national and international events.
c) We are living in an age where anything we may post becomes instantly visible and accessible across the world. What you publish will be around for a long time so consider the content carefully and also be sensible about disclosing personal details.
d) Equally, this also exposes individuals to unknown or unintentional breaches of various criminal laws, together with regulations in force for related partner associations eg: EBSA (European Billiards and Snooker Association), IBSF (International Billiards and Snooker Federation) and World Snooker.
3. Using social media for NGB related topics
As a member of Scottish Snooker, the personal image you project in social media may adversely reflect on the image of our organisation.
We recommend that you:
a) Show yourself in your best light. By identifying yourself as an NGB member within a social network, you are now connected to fellow members, players, potential members and members of other international associations. You should ensure that content associated with you is consistent with your responsibilities as a member of the NGB.
b) Think twice and pause. You should use mature discretion in all personal communications in social media. If you wouldn’t write something on email, or say out loud in public, then you shouldn’t put it on a social networking site. These are very public forums and should be treated as such.
c) Use a disclaimer. When using social media for personal purposes, you must not imply you are speaking on behalf of the NGB. Avoid use of the association’s e-mail address, logos or other identification. Make it clear that what you say is representative of your personal views only. Where possible, you should include a standard disclaimer, such as: “Statements and opinions here are my own and are not that of the NGB”.
d) Know your obligations. You must comply with and respect our policies when using social media. For example, you should be careful not to breach confidentiality and data protection policies when representing Scottish Snooker at National and International events.
e) Show respect to all. You should be respectful of Scottish Snooker, Scottish Snooker affiliates and your fellow members.
5. Using social media for Scottish Snooker communication
a) If members use social media with due care, it can be of real benefit to Scottish Snooker.
b) For example, a Linkedin profile highlights the talents and expertise of our members.
c) Twitter and Facebook can help generate enthusiasm for, and awareness of, our mission to promote and develop snooker and snooker talent in Scotland.
Social media enables people to express opinions and share information as part of a national and globally distributed conversation. Each tool and medium has proper and inappropriate uses, and we wish to avoid the latter.
d) If you are keen to do so, we encourage you to share Scottish Snooker Facebook posts, retweet and to positively post items about Scottish Snooker. This helps to build the profile of our association and its members.
However, whilst we encourage all of our members to join in conversations, it is important to understand what is recommended, expected and required when you discuss Scottish Snooker related topics.
e) We expect you to exercise personal responsibility whenever you participate in social media. This includes not breaching the trust of those with whom you are engaging. You should be sure that you are presenting accurate information and ensuring audiences are not misled.
f) The Scottish Snooker Facebook page will be used as an update source for all who are interested in snooker in Scotland and the progress of Scottish players.
Our Facebook page is intended to promote Scottish Snooker events and players and give anyone the opportunity to enjoy and support the content with appropriate comments.
It is not meant to be a forum or platform for debate, petty comments and criticism or discussing Scottish Snooker business.
We trust contributors will respect the ethos of the page and refrain from submitting inappropriate comments. Those comments will be deleted with no offence intended towards the contributor.
6. Guidance to members
a) You should not set up any social media platforms or feeds as a Scottish Snooker account or a Scottish Snooker functional account, unless otherwise agreed by Scottish Snooker.
b) You should abide by our Code of Conduct, and Data Protection policies. If you have any uncertainty about publishing something online, this document may help. If you still don’t know if something you want to publish is appropriate, it is best to hold back and seek the advice of a Scottish Snooker Officer.
c) You should declare yourself. Some posters / bloggers work anonymously, using pseudonyms. Scottish Snooker believes in transparency and honesty, and we encourage you to use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify your membership of the NGB. If you have a vested interest in something you are talking about, ensure you have made this clear.
d) You should write using your own voice; don’t be afraid to show your personality and talk from your own perspective. If the nature of the content is contentious, seek the advice of a Scottish Snooker Officer before you contribute.
e) You should follow copyright and data protection laws. For our protection as well as your own, it is critical that you stay within the legal framework and be aware that libel, defamation, copyright and data protection laws apply.
Ask permission to publish or report on conversations, communications or publications that are private or internal to the NGB. Be aware that content on social media websites may be subject to Freedom of Information requests
f) You should add value. Scottish Snooker’s reputation is made up in a large part by the behaviour of its members and everything you publish reflects on how we are perceived.
Social media should be used in a way that adds value to our mission to promote and develop snooker and snooker talent in Scotland
g) You should not be defensive. When you see inaccuracies articulated about Scottish Snooker or related by interested parties, journalists or by other posters / bloggers, you may use social media to politely and sensitively point out the situation as you see it.
Please also advise a Scottish Snooker Officer that you have identified information that is inaccurate or could damage the reputation of our organisation.
h) You should be prepared for a two-way conversation. And be aware that people are entitled to their views. You must make sure that what you say is factual and avoid unnecessary or unproductive arguments.
i) You should monitor your social media page diligently. Delete any derogatory, malicious or defamatory statements by third parties which pertain to Scottish Snooker or our affiliates. You should also consider removing the offending author from your page
j) You should handle offensive comments swiftly and with sensitivity. If a conversation turns and becomes offensive in terms of language or sentiment, make sure you inform your audience exactly why you have removed the comment.
For example, “This comment was removed because it was considered to be offensive. I will respond to your comments but please respect the views of all participants”.
k) You should react to your own mistakes and use your judgment. If you make a mistake, be up front about your error and correct it quickly. In a blog, if you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.
l) You should remember that there are consequences to what you publish. If you’re about to publish something that makes you uncomfortable, review the suggestions in this document. If you’re still uncertain, discuss it with a Scottish Snooker Officer. Ultimately, however, you have sole responsibility for what you post or publish in any form of online social media.
7. Scottish Snooker’s Protocol for Social Media use
a) If you already use social networks or blogs for personal use and you have indicated in any way that you are a member of Scottish Snooker, you should add a disclaimer that states that opinions on the site are your own.
b) If your actions are considered to bring Scottish Snooker into disrepute, or breach any other aspects of this or associated policies, you may be subject to action under our Code of Conduct disciplinary process.
c) If you break the law using social media (for example by posting something defamatory), you will be personally responsible
d) You will be held responsible for any comments made by third parties on your personal social media pages.
e) In order to protect our integrity, should you notice any use of social media by other members of Scottish Snooker in breach of this policy please report it to a Scottish Snooker Officer.
What you publish will be around for a long time so consider the content carefully and also be sensible about disclosing personal details.