A keen advocate of social media has proposed a five-step guide for project managers using social media such as Twitter in order to kick start the debate on its use in a professional environment.
Michael Grace, Director of Turner & Townsend, said although its application was limited at best, recent examples of poor practice in the media had heightened the need for a more binding code of conduct.
“In my opinion the main concerns centre around confidentially, acting with professional care and acting in accordance with terms of engagement,” he said.
His remarks followed the announcement by the International Olympic Committee that athletes’ postings at next summer’s Games would be restricted to “first-person, diary-type formats”.
Any breach of the Olympic Charter, including overtly political or commercial tweets, could see athletes banned.
Describing his five ‘Golden Rules’, Mr Grace said there needed to be an agreement with the client on the boundaries of what was acceptable; a clear understanding of the project status (respecting tendering and procurement guidelines), rules over data protection and the difference between opinion and fact.
Finally, “don't tweet anything you wouldn't be prepared to put in writing, or have published as an open letter in newspaper”, he added.
A number of companies have already introduced a social media policy to manage the risks responsibly.
Paul Hilton, from Mott MacDonald, said its policy applies the same principles and conduct required for any other form of communication.
"There's no bespoke 'Twitter code'," he said, "rather an acknowledgment that the business sees responsible use of social media as an added communications tool."