Social Media and Internet Usage Policy for BFS Volunteers

Social Media and Networking sites have become a regular part of everyday life for many people, and subscription to sites such as Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Google+, etc is common amongst Beltane Fire Society (BFS) members.

Social Media sites are an important lifeline to many, providing a positive influence and improving the daily lives for the majority of their subscribers. For organisations and events, they allow them to advertise in a way previously unavailable. The unfortunate downside to the ‘instant communications’ that these sites offer is that they also exacerbate the tendency towards ‘stream of consciousness’ posting, and the ‘post first, think later’ syndrome. This means that one can inadvertently, and sometimes even deliberately, post comments that are read in a negative light. Such comments can spread rumour, sunder friendships, and shatter trust.

For BFS, as a voluntary organisation, we are based on a foundation of trust and friendship, and whilst Social Media sites are a boon to us, they can also rip us apart. BFS Membership carries a social and moral duty to avoid actions on Social media sites that will bring BFS, BFS events, or BFS members into disrepute

General Information
The following policy has been designed to give guidelines as to what the Beltane Fire Society expects from our membership when accessing these sites, including private groups or email lists set up to conduct BFS business. Social Media is not a forum for raising your complaints and grievances about your experiences relating to the Beltane Fire Society. Should you have a grievance or complaint or you are in any doubt about this policy, please contact a Board Member.

The absence of, or lack of, explicit reference to a specific website or service does not limit the extent of the application of this policy. Where no policy or guidelines exist, volunteers should use their sense and judgement and take the most prudent action possible. Please refer to the settings and guidelines of the specific social media channels that you’re using as different sites use different language to explain similar concepts e.g. Friends/Followers etc.

Guidance for Personal Use relating to the Society
If you have your own profile on a social media website, you should make sure that others cannot access any content, media or information from that profile that

a) You are not happy for them to have access to; and
b) Which would undermine your position as a trusted and responsible volunteer

As a basic rule, if you are not happy for others to see particular comments, media or information, simply do not post in a public forum online. Please be aware that anything posted online, even in a setting which you deem to be private, has the potential to become public.

When using social media sites, volunteers should consider the following:

• Changing the privacy settings on your profile so that only people you have accepted as friends can see your content
• Reviewing who is on your ‘friends list’ on your personal profile.

Make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the Beltane Fire Society and that your views expressed are yours alone and do not represent the views of the Beltane Fire Society.

Ensure information published on the Internet complies with Beltane Fire Society policies and principles of participation. Breach of these may result in disciplinary action which may compromise your participation within the Society. Ensure you are always respectful towards Beltane Fire Society, other Volunteers and other Agencies and Partners.

Being respectful includes not:

• Engaging in any activity or disclosing information that brings or is likely to bring BFS into disrepute;
• Using the internet to attack or abuse the Board and Trustees, fellow members, other volunteers, BFS clients, suppliers or partners or post any derogatory comments;
• Blogging or posting messages relating to Beltane Fire Society anonymously, – always be clear who you are and identify that you are a member of BFS;
• Saying anything that is dishonest, untrue or misleading – if you have a vested interest in a Beltane Fire Society related discussion, say so;
• Posting or publishing any sensitive or confidential information;

Please note that any discussion of complaints or disciplinary action on social media could jeopardise the outcome for all involved.

Volunteers should be aware that any disrespectful comments to the above might be seen as libellous, whether intended that way or not, and could result in disciplinary action.

At all times, in and out of volunteering hours, you are an ambassador for the Beltane Fire Society. Be aware that your actions captured via images, posts or comments online can reflect upon and within the Beltane Fire Society.

Use of Official Organisational Accounts
Beltane Fire Society operates a number of accounts on social media websites for the promotion of activities and events, and as a communication method. The following outlines the limits of their use.

An official account on any social media website may only be set-up with consent from the Board of Directors. Only authorised volunteers may use these accounts to post online and access to the accounts should be strictly limited. All information published on the Internet must comply with Beltane Fire Society’s policies. Copyright laws must be respected, with references or sources cited appropriately. Any volunteer who becomes aware of social networking activity that would be deemed distasteful should make the Board aware as soon as possible.

All volunteers using official accounts must adhere to the above guidelines; breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action.