We are reviewing our “Strategies for Managing Social Media Records” guidance February 15, 2017

It has been nearly four years since we published our guidance “Strategies for managing social media records.” We have updated the guideline with relevant information on new technologies to ensure that we are providing you with current information.

However, news, blogs, directives, etc. on the @Potus handover, and the transition strategy for the other social media accounts or digital assets, afforded us an excuse to review our guidance.

What is in our current guidance?

Our “Strategies for managing social media records” guidance discusses:

The current guidance provides a lot of information on the various strategies of managing social media records depending on the current needs and use of social media platforms. It also includes risks around the different strategies.

What are the directives of other states and territories?

Part of our initial review is looking at what other Australian states and territories’ records and archival institutions advise public offices on social media. Social media posts created or posted on behalf, and for the public office are considered State records or public records. As such, it has to be managed accordingly, and from our perspective, has to be managed as per the Standard on records management.

What is NARA’s advice on social media records?

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) advises agencies to articulate processes, policies and recordkeeping roles and responsibilities to ensure social media records are identified, captured and managed. Included in their advice is the requirement to have a social media working group which would develop policies, procedures, etc.

In addition, NARA’s “Documenting Your Public Service” guidance addresses the administration of social media accounts, both personal and agency-administered, during a time of transition. From NARA’s perspective, social media accounts created or used for official business must stay under the control of the agency.

What are the new social media recordkeeping challenges we are seeing?

The use of social media in government has grown over the years and the amount of records created is increasing as well. Some of the new challenges and issues we are tackling at the moment are:

  • delineating official use of social media from personal use
  • control of social media accounts when used in official business and then the account reverts to personal use
  • processes for identifying State archives and transferring social media records to State Archives and Records NSW
  • access directions for archived social media records, that potentially may contain personal information, and
  • public expectations that social media accounts and records produced are open and accessible and available in perpetuity.

In summary

We know that with social media recordkeeping, there is no “one-size fits all” or clear cut solutions. We are mindful too that any advice or guideline we develop should not be onerous to implement.

Please let us know if you have any comments or feedback regarding our Strategies for managing social media records guidance. Most importantly if you have developed successful strategies for managing social media records, please do let us know.

Image credit: John Atkinson, https://wronghands1.com (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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