Last November, the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) issued a call to action to the PR community inviting comment on a discussion paper about the opportunities and risks social media present in public relations practice.
The CIPR’s plan was to incorporate it into the association’s code of conduct for members, following the public consultation.
From a first read-through of the guidelines, I’d say they will go a long way to helping PR practitioners focus more clearly on areas of communication practice that are still a bit alien to the majority of PR people. The guidelines will certainly be helpful in spelling out areas of responsibility – for instance, relating to disclosure, confidentiality and respect for the intellectual property rights of others – that would normally fall under the heading of ‘general common sense’ but benefit from being spelled out in the context of social media.
It’s good to see a strong emphasis on other emerging issues (as the guidelines call them) which include some clear guidance on areas such as astroturfing, pitching, ghost writing blogs and contributing to wikis. All of such points are firmly linked to the CIPR’s overall code of conduct.
It’s a good document, in my view, one which will be of use to PR practitioners everywhere, CIPR members or not (if you do use them, remember to attribute your source of reference to the CIPR).
Also, the document includes a pretty good definition of the term ‘social media’:
‘Social media’ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. As the name implies, social media involves the building of communities or networks, encouraging participation and engagement.
That works for me.
See the guidelines here: CIPR Social Media Guidelines