Southwestern Officials Association Social Media Guidelines
- Consider social media communications as public at all times, even if created with private intentions. If you are going to use social media in any form, consider your communication may be read by anyone at anytime.
- You represent the officiating industry, the Southwestern Officials Association (SOA), your assigner and your partners. Act accordingly.
- Promote officiating in a positive light and with a general feeling of pride and professionalism.
- You have a unique access to information. The same ethical restrictions that apply to any form of public speech also apply to social media. It is inappropriate to communicate specifics about your assignments, other officials, conference/schools, coaches, players or any related personnel.
- Do not engage in specific play and or ruling evaluation/commentary, whether it be of a game you worked, one that you witnessed or in general about the impact of officials in any sport.
- Communications among officials for learning purposes should be done privately and not through the use of social media. Be mindful that email and other forms of direct communication can be made public.
- Be very sparing in the sharing of your personal information, including photos. Adjust security settings accordingly, Report fake profiles or posts to the appropriate governing bodies in a timely fashion.
- Always follow specific conference, school and or governing body social media policies.
SOA Social Media Code of Conduct
- Social media can be fun, helpful and dangerous.
Comments, notes and photos posted on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and online forums are usually constructive and positive. Negative comments and images, bullying, criticism and sexist remarks can be dangerous and harmful to individuals reputation and image of the sport of officiating.
- Do not use social media to be critical of fellow officials, schools, coaches, administrators, volunteers or spectators.
Any comment you make on social media sites has the potential to be seen by millions of people. That is great if comments are positive. It can be extremely negative and harmful if critical of people. Before you post a comment on social media, ask yourself this: Would I want millions of people to read something negative about me?
- Always assume the person you are talking/writing about will see what has been said/written.
Just because an online chat is between two people does not mean it remains private and nobody else can see it. Social media is accessible to everyone. Even if the person you are discussing does not see it, somebody else may. The result is you, rather than the person you are ridiculing will be seen in a negative light.
- Use social media as a positive outlet to promote fellow officials, the SOA, players, teams, and other involved in football/basketball.
Posting results and acknowledging other officials, schools, teams, etc., performances on social media makes many people aware of achievements. This can have a positive effect for many and should be used, encouraged and embraced whenever possible.
- Remember to show respect.
When using social media, show the same respect and regard for everyone involved in the game; schools, teams, players, coaches, administrators, spectators......and especially fellow officials.
- When in doubt, leave it out.
If you are unsure what you are posting on social media is appropriate, then it is best to not post it. When in doubt, leave it out.
- Do not tolerate or condone poor social media behavior or actions.
If you are aware of or observe poor social media behavior or actions, please report it as soon as possible. There is no place for it in officiating or football/basketball and will not be tolerated. You should remind fellow officials of their responsibilities when using social media and warn that action can be taken against them by the regional supervisor and/or Association.
- Consider social media to be your personal brand. Your internet presence fuels any perception of your personal brand or behavior. Does your social media identity match your real identity? Be mindful of the content of photos, status updates, tweets, blogs, emails, texts. Are they truly reflective of who you are and how you want other members to see you?
Negative comments, images, criticism and sexist remarks (although not limited to just these items) not only impact the target person or group, but also has a reflection on the individual posting/sending and as well the Southwestern Officials Association (SOA). Therefore, any confirmed communication detrimental to the SOA or any member thereof, will be subject to disciplinary action resulting in a fine and/or suspension as outlined within the By-Laws of the SOA (Article II, Section 3) determined by the Board of Directors of the SOA, upon the recommendation from the Regional Supervisor. The punishment of such act or offense is final with no appeal, and thus shall be considered a non-grievance action or issue.