Why the political parties have no Social Media Policy?

2012 is an election year. This is not only the case in the US, but also in many other countries including my own, Belgium. There will be local elections and union elections this year. But I am looking forward, with a lot of anticipation, to how US politics will be using Social Media to rally to victory. Four years ago, Team Obama surprised everybody, but this year, many politicians and candidates will be fighting back and use the same weapons.

What I can not stop wondering about is whether the Democratic or Republican party has a Social Media Policy. I do not think so and in all honesty I am not sure they can make one that sticks. In reviewing the database of social media policies (http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php), there are a number of elements that always show up in such a policy. Maybe this is a good time to benchmark some paragraphs of these policies versus the political world. It will become apparent why it would be close to impossible to create a Social Media Policy (that would stick to) for any political party: Here are some clauses and further meaning:

  • Respect your Audience: One should show proper consideration for other’s privacy and topics considered inflammatory.
  • It is a Conversation: it is supposed to be a two-way conversation and not just shouting out to the audience.
  • Respect your competition, do not pick fights or launch personal attacks: Seems very obvious and does not really require any further explanation.
  • Be honest and transparent: do not be sneaky or devious. Do not have others go out there and say good things about you and bad things about others. Stay away from ghostwriters.
  • Be yourself and respectful: Voters will see through your marketing tricks and talk. Be passionate and let that show through your personality.
  • Get your facts right: Separate your opinions from your facts. How often is this not forgotten?
  • Admit mistakes, apologize and correct your mistakes: do not be afraid to say that you were wrong. Admit to those mistakes and correct them.
  • Think twice about posting: Before you post think about how it will be perceived since that is what people will see as the reality. The internet does not forget easy. Make sure you are allowed to post this content.
  • Do not lie: Obviously since you are personally responsible for “speaking” on a public platform.
  • Add Value: People’s time is valuable so do not waste it with.
  • Aim for Quality and not Quantity: Offer your contribution with content and in context.
  • Do not spam your audience: Respect people’s time.

As most companies and organizations are urged to create good social media guidelines and policies, I think politicians should set the example. However, I know that politicians stand on the barricade when they see these types of policies, but just like marketers they feel that their hands are tied. So I wonder if any of the political parties are even giving this any thought and would love to hear from them. Any thoughts?

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