Social media/Best practices

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On Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia branded accounts[edit]

  • Do not endorse any products
  • Do not endorse any political candidates
  • Do not engage in any dispute with other accounts
  • Do not evaluate or attempt to resolve complaints by celebrities or their fans about edits to a Wikipedia article. Send them to the FAQ for Article Subjects.
  • Do not post sarcasm
  • Do not post “snarky” or unfriendly tones
  • Do not retweet or repost anything that contains any of the above
  • If you see hateful comments from one user to another, note them, check with the Support and Safety Team or another Communications team member, and hide the comments. Reach out to the person who was attacked and apologize for their experience. Provide email addresses to Support and Safety and Comms if available.
  • Do not post media that is not either owned or co-owned by the Wikimedia Foundation (such as photos we take), in the public domain or licensed under CC0. An exception is media used with permission from the author. That permission may come in any written form (such as an email). For more on seeking permission to post photos and other files on social media, go here. (Example wording is also provided.)
  • Remember the “five pillars” of Wikipedia’s fundamental principles, especially neutrality and civility.
  • Check with the social media team before posting if you have any doubts about a post
  • To share a foreign-language tweet from another Wikipedia or Wikimedia account, quote it providing an English translation verified by a native speaker. To share the monthly blog highlights in foreign languages, target the relevant nations as shown here.

If you work with Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia social media accounts[edit]

Do not post anything on your personal accounts that could be confused with Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia official messaging. Your personal accounts don’t speak for the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia. To help prevent confusion, you may want to include a notice on your social media accounts that you are posting on your own behalf and not as a representative of Wikimedia Foundation. Do not post anything on our branded accounts that is personally motivated, for instance a shout-out to an organization you like.

Wikimedia Foundation employees on their personal social media accounts[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation employees’ social media accounts are their business—unless they are used in ways that inhibit their ability to do their jobs. For instance, fundraisers should not post anything unkind about donors; attorneys should not post anything controversial about ongoing cases; communications team members should not post belligerently about members of the press, etc. You are an ambassador for the Wikimedia movement and Wikipedia on social media.

Please do not take on angry critics or engage with members of the press in discussions about the Wikimedia Foundation on social media or the comments sections of websites. You may have the best intentions, but as a WMF employee, you can be mistaken as speaking for the foundation. The more urgent the critic or reporter is, the more dangerous the situation can be. Please excuse yourself from the situation and email comms with a link.

Many arguments about politics and other divisive topics are flaring up on social media lately. If you post political opinions on social media, never mention the Foundation, Wikipedia, or other Wikimedia projects. As a 501(c)(3) status non-profit, we must always remain apolitical as an organization (in our official work, we never support or oppose political candidates). If you post frequently about politics, it may be good to include in a Twitter profile blurb “These views are mine, not my employers,” or something similar. Please don't post about politics while you are working on a Wikimedia Foundation computer. If you find yourself in a social media confrontation about politics and someone mentions Wikipedia or the Foundation, it is probably best to not reply at all. Never answer on behalf of the Foundation, Wikipedia, or the movement. Feel free to reach out to the blog and social team via digitalmedia@wikimedia.org if you have doubts about what is transpiring. What you do personally on social media is your business, and it is important to feel free to advocate for what you believe. But it may also be good to keep in mind that experts say arguing about politics on social media is extremely stressful. A new Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that nearly 4 in 10 adults (38 percent) say that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress. Posting a witty comeback might feel good in the moment, but embroil you in an ongoing, destructive conflict. It’s usually just not worth it.

Please check with your supervisor and the communications team before blogging about your work with the Foundation on Medium or other outside platforms. Personal reflections may be fine, but statements such as "At the Wikimedia Foundation, we..." need to be cleared with the communications team. We would rather you blog with us, and then post with commentary to our verified Medium account. We can help you with engagement and that process to get the most out of your posts.

Contracting companies and agencies working with the Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

Are asked to refrain from posting anything on their accounts that could appear to be part of their work with the Wikimedia Foundation without consulting with the Wikimedia Foundation first.

Community accounts that use Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia branding[edit]

Community members and Wikimedia Foundation staff are encouraged to check with the social media team before starting a social media account that could confuse the public by appearing official when it is not. A possible source of confusion can be the use of the word “Wikipedia”, the puzzle globe, or other Wikimedia trademarks in the name or profile picture of the social media account. We encourage the use of the Wikimedia Community Logo as a means of representing the movement on community accounts. Please make clear on the account that it is run by a volunteer, community member, or staffer as an unofficial account. That said, we are an open-information movement, and it is not our mission to seek out trademark violations or misbehavior on social media. We rely on community volunteers to protect the Wikimedia brand identities by reporting trademark misuse. If you see something on social media that you wish to report as abusing our brands, email legal-tm-vio@wikimedia.org or fill out the trademark violation reporting form on Meta-Wiki. More information about the use of Wikimedia trademarks on social media is available in the Wikimedia Foundation trademark policy.

While we urge community accounts to use our best practices on not posting products or other topics outside the Wikimedia mission, we do not police or critique community pages. We are happy to give feedback, support, and advice when asked.

Guide for staff using main Wikipedia and Wikimedia branded accounts[edit]

When posting, please adhere to these steps or consult a member of the team on why you are deviating from them:

  • Email digitalmedia@wikimedia.org your general thoughts about a post or a draft of a post, adding any needed explanation—for example, if the post is motivated by an anniversary.)
  • If needed, re-send the final draft you are posting to the list for the “Looks Good To Me” approval from at least one other member.
  • Create a shortened link on the social media dashboard website Buffer so we save traffic metrics. (This process will change soon, we hope.)
  • For those with direct access to our channels, post either through Buffer or on the native platforms. (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Buffer is handy when scheduling posts in advance that other users need to see, because we all share the Buffer dashboard. Otherwise the platforms themselves are preferred.
  • Check the post immediately after posting and periodically after it goes up to see if there is any major reaction, positive or negative. Respond appropriately checking in with the team on any issues or problems.
  • If you schedule a post through Buffer or the native platforms, set notifications so that you or another team member can immediately look at a post after it publishes. Do not set a scheduled post and forget about it. That’s how bad things happen.
  • Measure and track your post taking note of any noteworthy metrics or responses.
  • Mini case studies with links, screenshots and and metrics are important.
  • Any data or communications about our social accounts outside of the Communications team should be evaluated by the Blog & Social team before it is shared externally. Otherwise we could be missing a major opportunity to explain our strategy and approach.
  • Cultivating good relationships with other departments in the Wikimedia Foundation, like-minded organizations and social media influencers is highly encouraged.
  • When drafting posts, remember to be factual (we are an encyclopedia) and friendly (we are ambassadors). Other brands may snark; we don’t. Other parts of the Wikipedia and Wikimedia community may be vastly complex; on social we keep it simple.

Guide for other Wikipedia and Wikimedia branded accounts run by Wikimedia Foundation employees[edit]

  • Please email Aubrie Johnson, the social media associate at ajohnson@wikimedia.org, to tell her the name of the account, who has access to it, and what its purpose is.
  • Please provide sign-in information (email and password) for the account to be kept on fileserve1 with other account information.
  • Never engage in angry exchanges on social media on a branded Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia account.
  • Do not post sarcastic or incorrect information.
  • Do not promote businesses or brands.
  • Do not repetitively post to promote a pet project not represented by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Do not criticize or insult the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedians in posts.
  • Do not espouse political opinions or advocacy.
  • Do not compete with other Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia social media accounts to post news first.
  • Regularly check in with Blog & Social team members about any questionable posts.
  • When in doubt, check in with a team member. Do not make unilateral decisions about social media posts.

Likes, retweets and reposts[edit]

We should be quick with likes, replies, and comments from our branded accounts, as long as they are constructive and helpful. They require little more than effort. Retweets and reposts are a bit trickier. We RT Wikimedians with big news, our own accounts (@wikipedia RTing @wikicommons, for example) or like-minded organizations sharing news that involves us in a way we support. We would like to explore RTing and reposting content more, but it should be done in discussion with the team.

Keeping track of accounts[edit]

There are pages on Meta-Wiki for listing Facebook pages and microblogging handles run by Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia affiliates, and Wikimedia communities. When creating a social media account, please add it to the relevant list. If the account is not managed by Wikimedia Foundation or an affiliate, please include a username or other contact information for the account’s manager.