Earlier this week, Sun employees received a copy of Oracle's Social Media Participation Policy (which covers blogging, twittering, web video, et al). Today, I am beginning to see some posts (example) that cast this policy in a less than positive light, when compared to the Sun policy.
The Oracle policy and the Sun policy are really quite similar in that they hold a common principle: "Use common sense." (Nope, commenting on future earnings or disparaging competitors is not a good idea.) To prove my point, I have pasted the Oracle policy below (with some legal gobbledygook removed).
There are two differences of note:
If you are at VP level or above (i.e. a company officer), there may be additional considerations. But for the rank and file, that covers it.
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please leave them here - or, even better, join the Bloggers Group on Oracle.com. I and my colleague Marius Ciortea will be participating there.
SOCIAL MEDIA PARTICIPATION AT ORACLE
As a company, we encourage communication among our employees, customers, partners, and others - and Web logs (blogs), social networks, discussion forums, wikis, video, and other social media - such as Twitter - can be a great way to stimulate conversation and discussion. They're also an invaluable tool for experienced Oracle users who want to share information and tips on the use of Oracle products.
The Oracle Social Media Participation Policy applies to:
• All blogs, wikis, forums, and social networks hosted or sponsored by Oracle
• Your personal blogs that contain postings about Oracle's business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors
• Your postings about Oracle's business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors on external blogs, wikis, discussion forums, or social networking sites such as Twitter
• Your participation in any video related to Oracle's business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors, whether you create a video to post or link to on your blog, you contribute content for a video, or you appear in a video created either by another Oracle employee or by a third party.
Even if your social media activities take place completely outside of work, as your personal activities should, what you say can have an influence on your ability to conduct your job responsibilities, your teammates' abilities to do their jobs, and Oracle's business interests.
This section describes the requirements that are most relevant to Oracle employees participating in social media of various kinds (Oracle hosted and external). It is extremely important that you follow these requirements. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of your employment with Oracle.
Follow the Code
The Oracle Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and Oracle's corporate policies - including the Acceptable Use Policy, Information Protection Policy, and Copyright Compliance Policy - apply to your online conduct (blogging or other online activities) just as much as they apply to your offline behavior. Make sure you're familiar with them.
Protect Confidential Information
You may not use your blog or other social media to disclose Oracle's confidential information. This includes nonpublic financial information such as future revenue, earnings, and other financial forecasts, and anything related to Oracle strategy, products, policy, management, operating units, and potential acquisitions, that has not been made public.
Protecting the confidential information of our employees, customers, partners, and suppliers is also important. Do not mention them, including Oracle executives, in social media without their permission, and make sure you don't disclose items such as sensitive personal information of others or details related to Oracle's business with its customers. Third party social media services use servers that are outside of Oracle's control and may pose a security risk. Don't use these services to conduct internal Oracle business.
In addition, you may not publish (nor should you possess) our competitors' proprietary or confidential information. You may make observations about competitors' products and activities if your observations are accurate and based on publicly available information. Take care not to disparage or denigrate competitors.
Don't Comment on M&A Activity
You must not comment publicly on Oracle's M&A activity, including potential and pending acquisitions. This applies to potential acquisitions regardless of their status - in diligence, announced but not closed, etc. Any commentary on what a transaction or potential transaction may mean to Oracle, positive, negative or neutral can be problematic.
Don't Discuss Future Offerings
As a general rule, don't discuss product upgrades or future product releases. Because of potential revenue recognition issues, it is especially important that we do not give the impression to customers or potential customers that a given product upgrade will include specific features that will be incorporated into the product within a specific time frame. See Revenue Recognition Guidelines. Any exceptions must be approved by senior management, Legal, and Revenue Recognition.
Refrain from Objectionable or Inflammatory Posts
Do not post anything that is false, misleading, obscene, defamatory, profane, discriminatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to another person or entity. Make sure to respect others' privacy. Third party Web sites and blogs that you link to must meet our standards of propriety. Be aware that false or defamatory statements or the publication of an individual's private details could result in legal liability for Oracle and you.
Don't Speak for Oracle
Remember that you are not an official spokesperson for Oracle. Make it clear that your opinions are your own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the corporation. See Policy Regarding Communications with Press and Analysts.
For this reason, Oracle employees with personal blogs that discuss Oracle's business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors should include the following disclaimer in a visually prominent place on their blog:
The views expressed on this [blog; Web site] are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Similarly, if you appear in a video, you should preface your comments by making it clear that you are not an Oracle spokesperson and your opinion doesn't necessarily reflect Oracle's.
Don't Post Anonymously
While you are not an official spokesperson, your status as an Oracle employee may still be relevant to the subject matter. You should identify yourself as an employee if failing to do so could be misleading to readers or viewers. Employees should not engage in covert advocacy for Oracle. Whenever you are blogging about Oracle-related topics or providing feedback relevant to Oracle to other blogs or forums, identify yourself as an Oracle employee.
You must recognize and respect others' intellectual property rights, including copyrights. While certain limited use of third-party materials (for example, use of a short quotation that you are providing comment on) may not always require approval from the copyright owner, it is still advisable to get the owner's permission whenever you use third-party materials. Never use more than a short excerpt from someone else's work, and make sure to credit and, if possible, link to the original source.
Use Video Responsibly
Remember that you may be viewed as endorsing any Web video (whether hosted by YouTube or elsewhere) or other content you link to from your blog or posting, whether created by you, by other Oracle employees, or by third parties, and the Social Media Participation Policy applies to this content. Also, recognize that video is an area in which you need to be particularly sensitive to others' copyright rights. You generally cannot include third party content such as film clips or songs in your video without obtaining the owner's permission.
Stick to Oracle Topics on Oracle-Sponsored Blogs
Blogs that are hosted or run by Oracle should focus on topics that are related to Oracle's business. Take care to avoid subject areas that are likely to be controversial, such as politics and religion.
Don't Misuse Oracle Resources
Personal social media activities must not interfere with your work or productivity at Oracle. Don't use company resources to set-up your own blogging environment, even if you are blogging about matters related to Oracle. Oracle resources, including servers, may be used solely in connection with formally authorized blogging environments that have been established following consultation with Global IT, GIS, Legal, and Oracle Brand and Creative.