The Ministry of Defence wants its staff to use social media – but there’s always a danger that unguarded use will create a security risk. Suzannah Brecknell reports on how the MoD can both have its virtual cake, and eat it.
Large organisations often struggle to harness the potential of social media, in part because these media are generally designed for personal rather than corporate use. So when Pippa Norris, head of online engagement at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), spoke at Civil Service Live (CSL) last month about the ministry’s use of social media, her talk focused not on organisational use, but on how the ministry is supporting its staff to make the most of the opportunities afforded by social networking technology.
One way the MoD tries to achieve this is through a series of corporately-supported blogs which, while written in a personal capacity by staff, sit “neatly beneath our corporate presence” and support defence communication aims, said Norris. Her colleague Thom Beckett, who works in online security for the MoD, explained that sponsored bloggers are given guidelines about safety and best practice, and the online engagement team “make sure that everyone [in the blogger’s chain of command] who needs to know about their blog does know.”