Social Networking Guidelines (Facebook, Twitter, and other online entities)

Why We Need Guidelines

Many Wild Ones members are thinking about setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, and other kinds of web sites or Internet entities to further the interests of Wild Ones, their individual chapters, or just to express their own interest in Wild Ones-related activities and ideas. When you use the Wild Ones name, the Wild Ones logo, or any other identifying characteristics that indicate an affiliation with Wild Ones, it's important to realize that everything you do or say on your Facebook page, Twitter stream, blog, etc. reflects on the Wild Ones organization.

The reputation of Wild Ones is important. It's important that the online entities related to Wild Ones be associated with positive statements and positions.

If you are developing a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or other online representation of Wild Ones it is essential that you observe the following guidelines. These guidelines, which apply to Wild Ones-related Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, web pages, etc., will help you make appropriate decisions about your Wild Ones-related online activities, and will help avoid any damage to the reputation and image of Wild Ones, and help avoid jeopardizing our not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status.

Following these guidelines will also help make your online presence more interesting and more inviting for your visitors – and more interesting and fun for you.

General Rules and Guidelines (See below for specialized Twitter guidelines.)

• We encourage you to use the Wild Ones logo, either the national logo or your chapter logo, as appropriate. Click here for the guidelines for using the logo and to download copies of the logo.

• It's a good idea to clarify your relationship with Wild Ones (chapter president, member, etc.), but avoid giving the impression that you are "speaking for Wild Ones."

• Other Wild Ones members may be interested in what you're doing. So please let us know about your online presence so we can mention it in the Wild Ones Journal.

• Starting conversations is good. Just making announcements may not keep people interested. Consider introducing your thoughts or your information with a question. Ask for advice. Start a friendly debate. This will keep people interested, and will make your site more interesting.

• Add interest with attachments and links. Facebook makes it especially easy to add a photo or a link that will help illustrate your comments. Take advantage.

• Every image and every piece of writing – on the Internet or anywhere else – is owned by someone, and is protected by federal copyright laws. Unless you have written permission from the copyright holder, do not display images, or use text copied from any source.

• Monitor the activity on your page frequently, and respond to your messages, friend requests, etc. in a timely fashion. Shut down arguments, flame wars, and any interactions that you think might reflect poorly on Wild Ones.

• Confirm all friend requests, even if you don't know the person. If a problem develops later, you can always unfriend or otherwise block the person later. But don't unfriend someone in a fit of anger. If there has been an argument or unpleasant interaction, wait until you are calmed down before you take the step of unfriending someone.

• Don't send out requests to everyone you know, asking them to be your "friend," "follower," or "fan." The success of your page won't be judged by how many friends you have, but by the quality of your posts and responses of your visitors.

• Get the maximum mileage from your Facebook posts by avoiding late-night posts. By the time most people are looking at their streams (in the morning), it's likely that your late-night post will already by buried by postings that were just made within the last few hours.

• Use your best judgment. Refrain from comments that could be interpreted as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory, sexually explicit, proprietary, harassing, racist, homophobic, or libelous. Avoid mentioning political affiliations and political discussions. Everyone has an opinion, and it's good to express yours, but remember that what you say will reflect upon not only your image, but the image of Wild Ones also. Use the same level of respect that you might use in a business environment.

• Complete sentences, with capitalization and punctuation will get you further than "heywutuup2." Of course, on Twitter, incomplete sentences and abbreviations, etc. are common and often necessary.

• Some content on the Wild Ones web site is meant for members only, so please don't give it away to non-members.

• Don't share confidential or proprietary information about Wild Ones. This might include information about finances, workings of the board, etc.

• If you have a product or a service to sell, an occasional mention is OK, but don't use a Wild Ones-related online presence to promote your business.

• Realize that you are legally liable for anything you write or present online.

Special Hints for Twitter Accounts

• If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to review Twitter's own "Twitter Basics" section to be sure you understand the basic concept of Twitter, tweets, retweets, hashtags, Twitter's own rules and regulations, and a lot more.

• Be a real person. If you open a Twitter account for your Wild Ones chapter (for example), use your name rather than your chapter name. Your Twitter profile and the content of your posts will make it clear that you are representing your Wild Ones chapter or whatever. People are much more likely to pay attention to your tweets if you come through as a person, rather than as an organization. Be sure to customize your Twitter profile – and don't forget to set up a nice avatar (that may even include a photo of yourself) And use the Wild Ones logo (or your chapter logo) on your Twitter page.

• Listen to other people's tweets. Just as in real life, it's important to listen to what other people are saying. Twitter is not meant to be a one-way conversation. Pay attention to what others are saying, and when appropriate, respond to their questions and statements.

• Do it yourself. Of course you should commit yourself to keeping your Twitter stream going on a regular basis, but if you start finding it hard to keep up, don't give into the temptation having someone else do your tweets for you. It's better to cut back on your tweeting (not too much though) until you have more time, rather than having someone else write your tweets. The Twitter account is you – not your assistant.

• Tweet early and tweet often. But not too often. A few times a day. Maybe a bit more than that. Or a bit less than that. But try to stay active. Keep in mind that, for this type of Twitter account, most people are not going to be interested in what you had for lunch, or what time you went to bed last night. But they probably will be interested if you tweet about something interesting that happened in your yard today or if you tweet a link to some cool web site you found that you think people who share your interests will enjoy – and don't forget to tweet about any upcoming Wild Ones activities. Let people know what Wild Ones is doing. And don't forget to link to items on the Wild Ones web site whenever it seems appropriate.

• Retweet. If you see a tweet that you really like, and you think others will also like it, retweet it. Retweeting really helps spread the word. And if you see a tweet that says something positive about Wild Ones, retweet it. Other people who read the retweet will know that it's not just you saying good things or interesting things about Wild Ones – they will know that other people are saying it, too. It's like a free advertising testimonial for Wild Ones and the mission of Wild Ones.

• The 140-character tweet limit. That doesn't give you much room to say something, but, even though it won't be easy, try not to use the entire 140 characters. If possible, come up about 10 characters short of the limit – this gives some room for anyone retweeting to add a comment to his or her retweet.

• Shorten those links. A long link included in your tweet can easily fill up all or most of your 140-character limit. What to do? Use a link-shortening service that will shorten up a long link into a link that's much, much shorter. It's free and it's easy. Two of the most popular services are Bitly and Google URL Shortener.

• Follow that car. If you want people to follow you on Twitter, you'll have to be an active tweeter who also tweets interesting and useful thoughts and ideas, information, and comments. And you also have to follow other people on Twitter. This doesn't mean you should follow everyone you've ever heard of, but it's likely that when you follow someone, they might choose to follow you, too. The more of these connections you have (within reason), the more likely it is that more people will discover and learn about Wild Ones.

• Have fun. That's what it's all about. Having fun. Keep your tweets fun and interesting, and you will have fun and meet new people while (at the same time) helping to spread the mission of Wild Ones.


In order to enforce these guidelines, Wild Ones National reserves the right to revoke permission for use of the Wild Ones logo and/or the Wild Ones name on any Facebook page, web site, blog, etc.