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Telstra launches interactive 3Rs social media learning module

Telstra News

Posted on December 17, 2009

4 min read

Since Telstra released its 3Rs Social Media Engagement Policy in April, the matter of social media corporate guidelines has become an issue that numerous types of organisations are working to manage.

Different organisations are coming up with different answers to the question of how to manage social media content generated by journalists and other staff for both personal and professional reasons.

As Margaret Simons highlighted in her blog, The Content Makers, the AFR’s reported ‘prohibition on using online social networking and blogs for anything other than personal purposes’ is an attempt to define the boundaries.

The ABC’s recently released social media guidelines for its staff take a different approach. Rather than focussing on prohibition, they encourage staff to be cognizant of the potential risks to the ABC’s reputation of the inappropriate use of social media.

Telstra sees social media as an opportunity to engage in conversations with our colleagues, customers and others with shared interests. While this communications environment has risks for corporate entities and individuals alike, we believe that with the right training and policy support the potential benefits far outweigh the risks.

Telstra’s a technology company so we want our people to use these new technologies.

We don’t purport to be social media experts, but we’re genuinely looking at ways to use social media, both to communicate interactively with our customers and to have an open dialogue on issues that relate to Telstra and technology.

We are encouraged by the early results that are being achieved by our social media customer service teams such as @bigpondteam and @telstra on Twitter. We also recently launched Telstra Exchange to encourage online discussion and debate on technology and related issues.

Earlier this year, we took the rather bold step for us of releasing publicly Telstra’s 3Rs social media engagement company policy and asking for comments.

We have now finalised and launched a staff online education tool to help our people understand how the 3Rs work as a set of guardrails when they are using social media.

Our aim is that this entertaining and interactive online course will arm Telstra’s staff with the knowledge they need to be clear about who they are representing, to take responsibility for their comments, and to show respect for the individuals and communities with whom they interact.

The course was created by Wendy Phillips, who works for Telstra and is also active on Twitter. Wendy has produced the following video giving a sense how ‘Lilly’ helps employees gain a better understanding how they can effectively discuss Telstra in online social networks.

The course has been up and running for a couple of months now and is part of Telstra’s mandatory online education program called Learn.Achieve. We are really pleased with the response with some 12,000 staff now having completed the course.

As with our 3Rs social media policy, we have decided to open up this course to the scrutiny and feedback of the ‘outside world’ as it may assist other organisations and help raise the level of awareness about social media with staff.

I invite you to have a look at the course and the video and let us know what you think. Are we on the right track or not? How are other organisations tackling social media training and what are the issues they are dealing with. We’d welcome your comments.

Editor’s Note

Telstra has created this course for it own in-house purposes to educate our staff so they have an understanding of social media and how it might impact their work and personal lives.

We must add though that it was not designed to provide specific legal or other advice in relation to social media and any legal risks that may arise from the uses of social media. It simply highlights some of the obvious risks that exist but it doesn’t go into any great detail. Telstra, like every other organisation, obtains legal advice about specific risks and issues as and when they arise.

If you or your organisation require specific legal or other advice in relation to mitigating the legal risks of social media for your business, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice about the specific risks relevant to your business and the law where you are located.