Operational 101 - Social Media

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This policy is designed to ensure the timely and appropriate social media interaction between EBC board, staff, and the larger cycling community.

Philosophy: Social media has the ability to strengthen bonds between EBC and the cycling community, but also can harm EBC’s public reputation if not used properly.


This policy applies to all social media activities carried out under the name EBC and on any EBC-branded social media accounts, even if the person using the social media accounts is declaring and posts as their own opinion.


  1. Social Media - Any electronic platform with two-way communication between the public and EBC that is viewable by larger public. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, but also include Google groups, email lists, and comment threads on web pages. Social media does not cover traditional media appearances such as radio, television, and newspaper interviews.
  2. Posting - The act of placing content on a social media account, inclusive of both new content and the posting of existing content attributed to another social media account (e.g. cross-posting, forwarding, or re-tweeting).
  3. Comments - Public responses to posts on EBC social media accounts.
  4. Replies - Any social media post by EBC staff or board in response to public comments on an item posted to an EBC social media account

Ethical Guidelines

  1. All staff and board members of EBC using social media on behalf of EBC (i.e. EBC-branded social media accounts) shall follow the ethical guidelines outlines, modified from Bowen:
Table 1. EBC Social Media Ethical Guidelines
Guideline Rationale/Implementation
Maintain dignity and respect Ensure the communication maintains the dignity and respect of the involved public.
Be fair and prudent Consider fairness, justice, access.
Avoid deception If it is deceptive, even arguably, then do not do it.
Eschew secrecy Barring trade/competition secrets, if an initiative, something needs ethical examination.
Is it reversible? How would you feel at the receiving end of the message? Is it still ethical then?
Be transparent Paid speech should be transparently identified as such.
Clearly identify Personal speech and opinion vs speech as a representative of the organization should be identified.
Rational analysis Examine messages from all sides; how would it look to the public; how could it be misconstrued?
Emphasize clarity Even if the source or sponsorship is clear, make it clearer.
Disclose Transparency in message creation and facts/data needed for an informed opinion.
Verify sources and data Be consistently credible; do not use rumour or speculation.
Establish responsibility Does the message maintain your responsibility to do what is right?
Examine intention Is your decision made with good will alone?
Encourage the good Does your message help to build connectedness, engagement, and community?
Consistency builds trust Consistency allows public to know and understand you, and you can meet their expectations.

Bowen SA. Using classic social media cases to distill ethical guidelines for digital engagement. Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 2013. 28:119-133.

  1. All staff and board members of EBC must incorporate the above guidelines when using EBC-branded social media. Moreover, all staff and board members are responsible for the content of re-posted and cross-posted content on EBC social media accounts (i.e. content derived from another source but listed on EBC social media accounts). Staff and board members are still responsible to EBC for any content on personal accounts relating to EBC when they are publicly identifiable in their EBC affiliation.

Opinion versus Information in Social Media

  1. All EBC staff and board members must exercise caution and restraint when discussing issues where there is there is contention within the staff, board, volunteers of EBC, or the larger Edmonton cycling community.
Table 2. Examples of Topics
Topics which have general consensus Topics which are contentious
Healthy, active lifestyle Politics and politicians
Hour of BikeWorks Operation Automobiles
Bikes are awesome Helmet use and laws
  1. At no time shall any EBC social media posts contain inflammatory content.
  2. When posting on topics related to contentious issues within EBC that pose a significant risk of violating the above ethical guidelines , the poster should check the content of the post with another EBC board or staff member prior to posting.
  3. Opinion and editorial pieces posted to EBC social media accounts must be infrequent and follow generally accepted journalistic standards. All opinion posts and replies must be signed.

Disciplinary Actions

  1. In the event of a disciplinary action or review of any social media actions on the part of staff or board members, Table 1 shall be used as a baseline to judge any actions against.

Account Access

  1. All social media accounts and access details (usernames and passwords) for EBC-branded accounts are to be freely available to all staff and board.
    1. Volunteers may be given time-limited access to EBC-branded social media accounts for limited purposes (i.e. live coverage or promotion of an event) in accordance with the Official Spokesperson Policy.
  2. Responses to media inquiries via social media accounts will be handled according to the Official Spokesperson Policy.
  3. The creation and deletion of social media accounts is at the discretion of the board.
  4. Whenever possible, mechanisms should be used to allow the board and staff to monitor and archive message across platforms without having to use a personal login to those services.


  1. One-way communications like newsletters are not subject to the above policies, but the ethical considerations outlined above do apply at all times.

Implementation and Monitoring

Policy Approval Date & Review Date

Date Approved, Revisioned and Active

Approved: March 2015


Date Expired

Enter Date Information

Related Policies: Official Spokesperson Policy Position Statement Policy