Navigating Different Social Media Guidelines

My first memory of “social media guidelines” comes from my years in high school when my use of the internet and social media were restricted. My school monitored student’s usage of their platforms during school hours, from 7:50am – 2:33pm. We were provided a detailed list of the rules regarding the personal use of the Internet that included the penalties for usage in school (nothing worse than a detention). At the time, these rules seemed so constricting and confining to our social lives. As Blanchard phrases, a social media bill of right is, “…to use the social web as a means of personal communications and self-expression outside of work,” (Blanchard 85).

During high school, social media presence was still a new-found thing. My constant up-keep of social media was not so much for my personal use, but for maintaining social interactions. Because of those daily updates, I have many awful cringe-worthy old Facebook posts from my teen years (forgive me for this post). My first Instagram picture was a badly filtered key lime cheesecake with no caption and two “likes”. I clearly did not know how to navigate the nuances and unspoken rules of personal social media.


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I knew social media rules in school were placed on students because of possible cheating and distractions, but guidelines for students and employees exist for the protection of others, as well as means of regulation and control within internal structures.

When I volunteered at Children’s Hospital, volunteers were forbidden from mentioning patients online or posting photos on our social media. Though this rule appears obvious, sometimes volunteers would share photos online to show support and encouragement for families. Their intent was positive but, as a volunteer, the privacy of patients and the reputation of Children’s Hospital is the primary concern as a representative for the hospital. The right to use social media for communication does not out-weigh the right for digital dignity for all users. Unfortunately, the internet and social media opened a new outlet for bullying.

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Young people are exposed to social media at younger and younger ages every year and with less formal and informal guidelines of how to manage their personal social media and expressions. Blanchard remarks that, “…this type of problem [bullying] does not end with high school graduation. It is alive and well in the world of grown-ups as well,” (Blanchard 92). As an adult, I see cyber-bullying exist within political commentary, debates of parenthood and childcare, and weight loss. Social media sites like Instagram and Twitter offer guidelines for dealing with online abuse prohibited wishing their policies. Also, Blanchard suggests that proactively defining cyber-bullying and its consequences is key to reducing the number of victims (93).

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While certain rights are afforded to those using social media (expression, privacy, etc.), social media guidelines and rules exist, not only as a form of management, but to ensure a quality of use that benefits and protects all who are affected.

After examining the different rights and consequences of social media usage within different environments, should social media guidelines change (within personal lives, businesses, websites, and schools)?


Blanchard, Olivier. Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2011. 83-94. Print.


Kathleen Mannard’s Facebook





4 thoughts on “Navigating Different Social Media Guidelines

  1. Great insight! I also had an experience with a job where social media guidelines and rules should have been quite obvious but there were always gray areas that I had not thought about. I interned at a bank and while I did not receive much information regarding people’s identities or credit information, there was always the possibility that you could be given access to sensitive information. Because of this, strict rules were enforced regarding the use of sharing things about the company or even using their name through all forms of social media, excluding LinkedIn. Employees were discouraged from sharing or commenting on bank related content and strictly told not to discuss any information regarding the company on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for there was a specific team to handle all customer or potential customer complaints and comments in general. However, I found it encouraging that there were these rules in place for I would not want to see the person associated with handling my bank account constantly tweeting or posting about the company for you never know what information could accidentally be leaked. But this was a bank, it’d be interesting to think of the guidelines from a more creative, less regulated company’s standpoint.


  2. Social media within schools is an interesting topic because it is so new many administrators might not know how to handle it. When I was in middle school, no one really had social media and if we did, we weren’t even allowed to have our phones on us during the day – they had to stay in our lockers. At such a young and impressionable age I think that social media usage in schools should be limited and at times prohibited. I feel like I’m aging myself here but kids these days have no idea what it is like to have so much as a family dinner without being glued to their iPads and iPhones. I think that it is imperative to train these kids while they are still young the proper and improper times to use social media and when they become (young) adults, let them make those decisions for themselves. If they were brought up in a certain environment, they would see the consequences of using social media during work or school hours at inappropriate times.


  3. I also remember the strict rules in high school that restrained students from logging into Facebook or Myspace during downtime or workshop periods. As you mentioned, social media was still new and growing. Many adult figures (both parents and teachers alike) considered social media a place where teens and pre-teens recklessly shared too much personal information, wasted too much time, and tried to look too “cool.” How many times did I attend an assembly that reminded me not to put my home address or any personal identifying information online? Too many to count. However, now social media is portrayed quite differently. We rely in it for social interaction, networking, and sometimes even news. Many college courses like ours have begun integrating these platforms into the classroom as a way to expand professional skills or supplement teaching styles. I wonder if high schools will also begin to adapt this model in the near future. Rather than fearing that children will post inappropriate info online, embrace the platforms by teaching students how to use it appropriately and professionally. This could be especially useful for sites like Linked In as high schoolers begin applying for colleges, scholarships, and internships. My prediction is that rural schools (like my high school) will be the last to adapt. Eventually, however, I don’t see how banning social media completely from the learning environment will help as opposed to hinder kids.


  4. First and Foremost, I literally LOL’d at your post from high school. I now see why I loved you back at OC and why we are still friends now! Aside from that, awesome article Kat. Social media guidelines are definitely there for a reason. It made me think about how people aren’t supposed to post nudes online. They made that a rule for a reason… just like how you brought up the fact that bullying is such a big deal online. That’s why parents fear for their children when they enter the realm of social media. Social media has so many guidelines that children don’t follow, which is why bullying occurs. While social media is great, it does have its downside. We rely so much on social media now that we forget about the rules. We say what we want and we mean what we say (for the most part). While social media is hilarious, it can be a very scary vicious world. And not following guidelines for social media can make things take a turn for the worse.


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