Adopted by the MDA Board of Trustees on May 11, 2018. Updated to include Email Distribution List policy, adopted by the MDA Board of Trustees on January 14, 2022.
This policy governs the publication of and commentary on social media by Trustees and Employees of the Metuchen Downtown Alliance. For purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary.
Trustees and Employees are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy. They are subject to this policy to the extent they identify themselves as an Employee or Trustee.
Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary. All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that the organizations Employees and Trustees must otherwise follow.
Goals of Social Media
The purpose of the Metuchen Downtown Alliance’s social media is to:
- Build community,
- Develop brand awareness for the downtown,
- Highlight collaborator excellence,
- Drive users to our digital assets where they can further engage with deeper-dive content,
- Identify people who might contribute to the success of our program.
When You Are Posting
Prior to making a post, determine whether you are making a post or comment individually or on behalf of the organization.
When posting as an individual:
- Be Transparent. Be transparent by stating that:
- you are an MDA Trustee or Employee;
- using your real name;
- you personally have (or do not have) a vested interest in a particular outcome; and
- you are not speaking for MDA.
- Use a Disclaimer. Include a disclaimer like “the views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Metuchen Downtown Alliance.”
- Be Honest. All statements must be true, not misleading and not false, with facts being verifiable.
- Respect Your Audience. Post meaningful, on-topic, respectful comments. Do not be unnecessarily offensive and do not post spam. Be positive and propose solutions rather than complaints.
- Don’t Tell Secrets. Do not reveal internal deliberations or other MDA confidential information. If you have a question about whether information is confidential, ask the Executive Board before posting.
- Be Polite. When disagreeing with others, be appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not become defensive, do not lash out in anger and do not suddenly disengage. Rather, disengage in a polite manner.
- Protect Members and Partners. If you have to post about MDA Members, or other businesses and organizations, be diplomatic and be sure that facts are correct.
- Be Honorable. Dishonorable content such as racial, ethic, sexual, religious, and physical disability slurs are not tolerated.
When posting on behalf of MDA:
- Seek Approval First. Do not post any official statements without prior authorization from the Executive Board.
General Rules of the Road
Whether posting on behalf of MDA or individually, some additional ‘rules of the road’ follow.
- No Comment on Legal Matters. Never comment on anything related to MDA legal matters, pending litigation, potential litigation and/or any parties that may litigate with MDA.
- Logos and Trademarks. Internet postings should not include company logos or trademarks unless permission is asked for, granted, and documented in writing.
- Respect laws. Internet postings must respect copyright, privacy, fair use, financial disclosure, and all other applicable laws.
- Controversial Issues. The Metuchen Downtown Alliance reserves the right to request that certain subjects are avoided, withdraw certain posts, and remove inappropriate comments including those that:
- Contain vulgar language,
- Are personal attacks of any kind,
- Are offensive comments,
- Are prejudiced or hurtful remarks made toward any ethic, racial, or religious group,
- Are spam,
- Include sales/promotion of goods or services that are not MDA-sponsored,
- Include links to other sites that are not MDA-supported,
- Include promotion of events or activities that are not MDA-sponsored,
- Are clearly off-topic,
- Advocate illegal activity,
- Provide a real or implied endorsement of candidates for public office,
- Infringe on copyrights or trademarks.
- Non-endorsement. Any non-MDA links that are posted do not constitute an endorsement by the Metuchen Downtown Alliance.
- Promotional Posts. The MDA, if requested by an MDA Member, may share their post that promotes their products, services, or events. This is not an official endorsement by our organization, rather simply a sharing of a post from a business within our downtown District.
- Be the First to Respond to Your Own Mistakes. If you make an error, be up front about your mistake, and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly – better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.
- Think About Consequences. Saying “X business stinks” is risky, unsubtle, and amateurish. Using social media to trash or embarrasses your organization, members, customers, or co-workers, is dangerous and ill-advised. Use your best judgment at all times.
- Negative Comments Towards MDA. Never be critical of MDA but rather address any criticisms internally. The MDA does not remove negative comments. When a negative comment is posted towards the MDA and is deemed something that can be resolved, staff may respond by asking the individual to send a private message with their concerns. If it is beyond the MDA’s control, the Trustee or Employee will let the comment lie without taking any action. The MDA has built a loyal following on social media that often comes to its defense if the post is an unreasonable complaint or an issue that the MDA cannot influence.
- Negative Comments Towards an MDA Business. Never post anything negative about any MDA Members but rather address any criticisms directly with that MDA Member preferably in person. When a negative comment is posted towards an MDA Business and is deemed something that can be resolved, staff may respond by asking the individual to send a private message with their concerns. If it is beyond the MDA’s control, the Trustee or Employee will let the comment lie without taking any action. The MDA has built a loyal following on social media that often comes to its defense if the post is an unreasonable complaint or an issue that the MDA cannot influence.
- Negative Comments Between Social Media Users. The MDA leaves it up to the individual user to report directly to social media sites any issues they feel they are having with another user. Users have tools where they can remove their comment, block the other user, report a user, etc.
Email Distribution List
The MDA manages an e-mail distribution list through Constant Contact. Anyone may Subscribe to the “Downtown Metuchen Monthly” newsletter via the MDA website. The newsletter is sent on the 1st of each month. Alerts are also sent out periodically as needed.
- Implied or implicit permission to add emails to the distribution list may come from: exchange of business cards, verbal requests, an inquiry made for a product or service, a donation is made to MDA, or from a member (we use member broadly to include all Full Members, Elective Members, Affiliate Members, active volunteers, and any partners).
- Subscribe. Anyone may subscribe to the e-mail distribution list via the MDA website: https://www.downtownmetuchen.org/newsletter/.
- Unsubscribe. Recipients are given the option to “Unsubscribe” by clicking on the link at the bottom of the e-mail they receive at any time. When recipients “Unsubscribe” they will receive no further communications at that e-mail address.
- Resubscribe. Recipients who unsubscribe are given the option to Resubscribe. The best way for doing this is to use the Subscribe form on the MDA website.
- Deletion. Should subscribers to the e-mail distribution list be found to violate the MDA Social Media Policy they may be deleted from the e-mail distribution list by MDA.
- Privacy. The MDA e-mail distribution list is kept private. At no time will the e-mail distribution list be shared with outside parties, advertisers, or others.