Please download & read the policy in its entirety: SocialMediapolicyRevised2015 (PDF)

We have highlighted some sections that are applicable to all employees using social media:​

1.1.1. Executive Summary of Steps for Departmental Use of Social Media

This policy outlines what a County department should do when using social media for official purposes. In summary, a department that is looking to use social media or that is already using social media should be sure that it follows the following steps for each use of social media (for example, go through the steps for the department’s use of Facebook and separately for the department’s use of Twitter):

  1. Consider whether and why it makes sense for your department to use the particular social media outlet
  2. Using the template available from the County Manager’s Office, Department Heads, or their designees, will draft a Social Media Work Plan
  3. Submit the completed Social Media Work Plan to the Social Media Coordinator in the County Manager’s Office for review and recommendations. [NOTE: Draft Social Media Work Plans may need to go through more than one cycle of the revision and review process (i.e., Steps No. 2 and No. 3) before such work plans are ready for approval by the Department and the CMO.]
  4. A copy of the approved Social Media Work Plan shall be placed on file with the Social Media Coordinator in the County Manager’s Office.
  5. Draft the Social Media Terms of Use to be used with the particular social media outlet using the available templates
  6. Submit the draft Social Media Terms of Use to your department’s assigned Deputy County Counsel for review
  7. Designate department staff who will be responsible for the day-to-day use and maintenance of the service
  8. Create the social media presence for your department, being sure to link to or post the Terms of Use on that service
  9. Make sure that department staff both routinely monitor the social media outlet and use the site for its intended purpose on a regular basis
  10. For any problems (such as people who post inappropriate content), work with your assigned Deputy County Counsel to address the problem
  11. Comply with the other requirements of this policy for the duration of the use of social media for official County business
  12. Terminate use of social media outlet when the purpose has been fulfilled or the department is no longer using the site

3.2 Guidelines for County Employees Who Use Social Media Outside of Work

These social media guidelines for San Mateo County employees have been created to address some of the choices that individual employees, contractors, consultants, temporary staff and other workers at the County may face online. These guidelines are not intended to address every situation encountered through use of a social media.

Whether or not a San Mateo County employee chooses to create or participate in a blog, wiki, online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion outside the workplace is his or her own decision. However, emerging online collaboration platforms are fundamentally changing the way County employees work and engage with each other, clients and partners. The old social norms and standards still apply, but the openness of social media creates situations that call for new rules of etiquette.

  1. Employee’s personal use must not be attributable to the department or employee’s job function at department. While an employee’s use and comments made at social media sites are subject to First Amendment protections, as well as permissible restrictions, any personal use made of social media sites outside of work must not be attributable to the department or the employee’s job function at the agency. For example:
    • a.       Do not use your work e-mail address to register for social media and other sites unless the purpose is directly related to your job.
    • b.      Do not display the San Mateo County seal or other official County logos, emblems or patches on personal social networking accounts.
    • c.       Don’t provide the County’s or another’s confidential or other proprietary information.
    • d.      Do not state or imply that you speak for the County, for a county department, or for County officials.
  2. Protect your privacy. Employees are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs, wikis or any other form of user-generated media. San Mateo County is not responsible for the personal content of your social media sites. Be mindful that what you publish may be public for a long time. Be aware of your association with San Mateo County in online social networks. If you identify yourself as a San Mateo County employee, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues and clients.
  3. Use a disclaimer. Whether you publish to a blog or some other form of social media, make it clear that what you say there is representative of your views and opinions and not necessarily the views and opinions of San Mateo County. Unless you are specifically authorized by your manager or supervisor to speak on behalf of the County, consider including the following disclaimer on personal blogs or social media in which you identify yourself as a County employee: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent San Mateo County’s positions, strategies or opinions.”