This policy applies to all members of Calne Running Club and those associated with the club; i.e. athletes, retired athletes, families of athletes, coaches and volunteers. With social media forums playing an important part in all our lives, its aim is to provide clarity on what is, and what is not, appropriate when using social media in relation to the club.
This policy and guidance highlight the key things to remember; clarify the boundaries and potential issues; and empower people to use social media responsibly. It is intended for those who may be less familiar with social media, as well as experienced users. When accessing and contributing to social media, you are faced with immediate decisions about acting in a responsible and safe manner. You need ensure, before you post any comments or opinions, that your usage does not conflict with the values of the club. Social media is not a private forum and often you may think you are posting to a private pre-selected audience but anyone accessing your posts and contributions can easily copy and forward them on to others, potentially accessing a far bigger audience than you had intended. . The very nature of social media means that once posted online, information is in the public domain, could reach a very wide audience and could stay there forever. You are responsible for anything you post online. This includes content which has been added by others but which you may choose to share through your own social media.
It is important to remember that what you do online may impact on your membership/association with the club, the reputation of the Club and all those associated with the Club.
Things to think about before you post:
- Could your post be perceived differently by other people including those associated with the Club? These may not be your intended audience, but anyone could potentially view your posts.
- Could it risk the safety or security of you or others? Again, you cannot be certain who is viewing your posts so think about how the information could be used by somebody with a different agenda to yours.
- Could it affect the personal privacy of others? For example, this could be done by naming somebody in your post.
- Is social media the appropriate communication channel for what you are trying to say? Whilst using social media can be very effective, sometimes a quick chat, phone call or email might be more appropriate.
- Could your judgement be temporarily affected? For example, in the heat of the moment.
- Show respect for the fact that not everyone will use social media for the same reasons. For example, some people may not wish to interact socially online, this is a personal choice.
- Is it possible that any message you send could cause upset to someone who may be suffering with their mental health already?
Official Representation: If you are authorised by the Club to represent it online, you should follow the principles highlighted in this guidance. Ensure that you disclose and comment only on information for which you have authorised permission and ensure that the information which you are sharing is accurate and complies with the Club’s policies. Information and passwords linked with the Club’s social media accounts belong to the Club and remain the property of the Club even after a person is no longer associated with it.
Misuse: As with any communication channel, problems can arise if social media is used inappropriately and this may lead to action being taken by the Club. Examples of inappropriate use could include:
- Bullying/harassment: Online bullying and harassment is equally as serious as if it had been offline. Examples could include using threatening or abusive language and posting crude jokes or derogatory comments.
- Posting offensive comments which are inconsistent with the Club’s standards and values.
- Posting inappropriate material of any kind which brings the Club into disrepute.
- Posting comments using offensive language even if directed at a person who will not be offended – others will.
- Posting derogatory/defamatory comments about the Club or those associated with the Club. A defamatory statement gives false information which damages the reputation of a person or the Club. This could include re-posting information that had originally been shared by others. In re-posting you can personally be held liable for the post as if you had posted it yourself.
- Failing to accept that someone has a different opinion to you and then encourage others to ‘gang’ up to re-enforce your argument (bullying)
- Using social medial to spread rumours or repost inappropriate comments about the Club, its members, and those associated with the Club. Don’t use social media as a channel to air your Club-related grievances or issues, always use the appropriate channels. Once something has been said online, it stays online, and this could result in reputational damage for yourself and/or the Club.
- Members have the facility to message people within the Calne Running Club Facebook group even if they are not friends outside that group. This should only be used for positive messages or to make arrangements for an event etc
In summary Social Media is an important means of communication with millions of people choosing to interact online. When using social media be responsible in your actions, respectful of others and clear about who you are representing.
Take care not to inflame or implicate yourself in the situation by getting drawn into an online argument. Show the same respect for others that you would if you were interacting face-to-face. Consider that sometimes actions are amplified online because they are accessible by so many people.
REMEMBER -Think before you post.
- Are you happy for children to read your post?
- Are you happy for elderly people to read your post?
- Are you being respectful of others?
- Are you writing something that could upset or offend others?
Don’t forget: if you wouldn’t do it offline, don’t do it online.
What to do if you think someone has posted an inappropriate post in relation to the club, a fellow member or said something that could bring the club into disrepute:
If an inappropriate post has been made by someone associated with the Club, you should report this to one of the Club’s Committee members or the Club’s Welfare Officer if this could be affecting young people.
Should the committee (or a delegated safeguarding group of the committee) become aware of a potential misuse of social media they should follow these steps:
- If informed by a third party, request to see evidence of the breach e.g. inappropriate post, viewing inappropriate material.
- Speak to the individual responsible for the breach (if a young athlete, speak to his/ her parent or guardian), giving consideration to the following factors: the severity of the incident, the response if the offence was committed off-line, whether the post was removed immediately and an apology was made, whether there was any follow up of the abuse or argument on a private message forum or in person and whether it was the first time the breach was committed.
- The club committee may give a verbal or written warning, temporary suspension from club activities, remove access to club social media or (in extreme circumstances or after repeat warnings) revoking his or her membership with immediate effect.
Some advice for your own protection – although these tips seems obvious we all need reminding occasionally:
- Learn the rules of each social media site before using it. Be mindful that social media sites often update their guidelines, and it is your responsibility to keep up-to-date.
- Be aware of hyperlinks within emails or websites. Know their intention and who they are from. • Use strong passwords to protect your personal social media accounts from being hacked into and consider changing them regularly.
- Check your privacy settings. Using the strongest privacy settings will help you keep your information safer. You should check these settings regularly.
- Keep your personal information private. For example, do not disclose your date of birth, location or contact details – these could make you vulnerable to others including criminals.
- Be wary of posts that are offering something too good to be true, trust your instincts if something seems suspicious. Be alert to scam messages that are designed to trick you into disclosing information that will lead to defrauding you or stealing your identity.
- Be wary of links posted on social media sites or sent to you, malicious code (malware) spreads rapidly around online social networks. Many URLs are ‘obfuscated’ meaning the full address of the website cannot be seen until the link is clicked on. They may appear as a link to a reputable site but actually take you to a site containing malware.
- Ensure your personal equipment has up-to-date, reputable security software when connecting to the internet to help you stay safe online.