Social media: beat the journos, don’t say anything stupid

Australia’s chief technology officer discussed social media policy and the power of direct online publishing at a forum in Canberra. Public servants are now breaking news, he says.

Australia’s chief technology officer says there are two easy ways for public servants to avoid the wrath of social media policies: avoid the temptation to “say stupid stuff” online and make sure you spend most of your workday doing work.

Speaking at a Digital Culture Talk on social media in the public sector at the National Library yesterday, John Sheridan (pictured, right) played down concerns that in the age of online political debate public servants are being shut out of the conversation.

“The challenge, I think, that we have to deal with here is something that’s really not that hard to understand: don’t say stupid stuff,” the chief technology officer said. “That’s really all it is. You wouldn’t do it on the bus, you wouldn’t do it at a barbecue; don’t say it online either.”

Sheridan reminded the many public servants in the audience that the policy about online comments was exactly the same as the policy about offline public comment. He also moved to assure them their social media use was not a major concern to their employers.

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