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IBM Social Computing Guidelines

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Social Computing Guidelines

Social computing platforms are continuously changing the way IBMers work and engage with each other, clients and partners. Through social computing, your expertise, which is IBM's greatest asset, can be shared both internally and externally with our clients, partners, and the global communities in which we operate. These guidelines outline your responsibilities when you engage in social computing to ensure you and IBM are both represented appropriately.


What is Social Computing?

Social computing consists of tools, applications and practices that allow users to create and share content, collaborate with others, and participate in social networking. Social computing platforms include (but are not limited to):

  1. IBM’s enterprise tools such as Slack, Trello, Mural, Connections, Communities, Webex, Box, IBMer News and W3
  2. Social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn
  3. Communications platforms such as WeChat, Whatsapp and Messenger
  4. Media sharing networks, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Soundcloud and YouTube
  5. Blogging networks, such as WordPress
  6. Microblogging networks, such as Twitter and Tumblr
  7. Discussion forums, such as Reddit and Quora

About these Guidelines

As IBMers, we comply with the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines, IBM’s Corporate Instructions, and all internal IBM policies, as well as the education relating to Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Bullying & Sexual Harassment. Our Social Computing Guidelines should be applied together with these policies and guidelines. When we mention ‘post’ in these guidelines, we are referring to any shared or created content put on a social computing platform. For example, this could be creating a channel or posting a comment in Slack, a message in a Webex chat, a comment on LinkedIn, or a tweet in Twitter.


IBM Social Computing Guidelines

Here’s what’s expected from IBMers:

  1. We know and follow IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines.
  2. We use careful judgement and common sense - consistent with the IBM Values - when posting.
  3. We are personally responsible for the content we publish online and are mindful that what we publish will be public for a long time.
  4. We ensure the information we post is relevant, informed and factually correct; and if we make an error, we correct our mistakes, admit we were incorrect and apologize.
  5. We are polite and respectful. Spirited and passionate discussions are fine, but we are respectful of others, never making ethnic slurs, discriminatory remarks, personal insults, obscenities, or other similar conduct that would not be appropriate or acceptable in IBM's workplace.
  6. We do not post, access or engage with any material that is inappropriate or illegal. This includes posts, links, photos, GIFs and emojis that are insulting, threatening, discriminatory, bullying, embarrassing, of a sexual nature, obscene, defamatory, profane or fraudulent.
  7. We respect IBMers’ privacy and don’t infringe on their intellectual property rights. This includes the posting of Private or Sensitive Private Information as described in the IBM Privacy Guidelines.
  8. We exercise care before posting photos to ensure we have appropriate permission and respect the privacy and security of others.
  9. We respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws on content and logos and trademarks and do not use IBM logos or trademarks unless we have been granted permission to do so. For example, we will not use IBM in our screen name or other social media identifications.
  10. We do not provide or post confidential or other proprietary information from IBM, a client, partner or supplier on external social sites.
  11. We do not publicly discuss or speculate on IBM business performance or other sensitive matters about business results or plans (including internal reports, policies, procedures or other internal business-related confidential communications).
  12. We do not share Private and Sensitive Private Information (SPI) regarding other IBMers, clients, partners and suppliers.
  13. We do not cite or reference clients, partners or suppliers on business-related matters without their approval. When we make a reference, we link back to the source and do not publish content that might allow inferences to be drawn that could damage a client relationship with IBM.
  14. If publishing content about IBM externally, we identify ourselves by name and, where relevant, role at IBM and we make it clear we are speaking for our self and not on behalf of IBM. For example, using a disclaimer such as: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."
  15. For IBM Executives or Managers, we have an additional management responsibility to ensure posts or comments are not misunderstood to represent the views of IBM.
  16. We familiarize ourselves with the terms of service of each social computing platform (as provided through Help@IBM).

Using Social Computing Platforms at Work

IBMers use many internal social computing tools such as Slack, Trello, Mural, Communities, Webex, Box, IBMer News and W3. These, and other channels, include features that enable users to create, share or engage with content or to participate in collaboration and social networking. Incidental personal use of these tools is OK if it is limited in duration, does not violate company policies, and does not distract us or others from the work we do. Remember that your manager is available to talk to if you want to address concerns which may not be appropriate to share on a social media platform. You can also use IBM's Concerns and Appeals channel. This would include things like concerns about inappropriate workplace behavior by coworkers.


Personal use of Social Computing Platforms outside of work

In general, what we do in our own time is our business. However, activities in, or outside of, work that adversely affect IBM job performance, the performance of others, or IBM's business interests will be reviewed in line with our company policy. Keep in mind what we publish may reflect on the IBM brand and if we publish content, we should always make it clear that we are speaking for our self and not on behalf of IBM. IBM has well established means for communicating publicly as a company. Only those officially designated by IBM are authorized to speak on behalf of the company.


Final considerations

One of IBM’s core values is "trust and personal responsibility in all relationships." As a company, IBM trusts—and expects—IBMers to exercise personal responsibility whenever they participate in social computing. Remember to always use good judgment and common sense in deciding what you post. If you're about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, pause and reflect upon the guidelines. If you're still unsure, seek guidance from your manager.