Social Media Record Management – The Next Challenge

By Abhishek Rastogi posted 06-13-2014 00:35


Social Media has emerged as one of the most significant technological concepts in the last decade. For enterprises, social media platforms are creating a new paradigm of interaction, contribution and collaboration amongst multiple stakeholders, both within and outside the organization. Aided by rapid evolutions in broadband and mobile technologies and also with the increasing penetration of the internet, social media is altering the concepts of consumer interaction and engagements. Social Media platforms work as a perfect channel for direct and succinct communication between an enterprise and its stakeholders.

Enterprises therefore, are witnessing a surge in the volume of content which they now have to manage and engage with over social media platforms. There is however very little being done to effectively garner and archive this information. Unlike the management of physical documents through electronic records management regulations (US DoD 5015.2, VERS etc) and tools, there is hardly any precedence in social media record management.

Social Media is being increasingly leveraged by local governments and is changing the way governments work and socialize. It is creating new avenues through which governments can drive a two way interactive communication mechanism for disseminating citizen specific information and also gather valuable feedback on existing and new initiatives. Social Media platforms are highly cost effective and their reach extremely vast. Local Governments can also use Social Media platforms for

  • Communicating Emergencies
  • Economic Development
  • Political engagement / policy feedback

With Social Media platforms gaining preference with Governments and state agencies across the globe, there is a growing movement towards creating strategies which would enable the effective leveraging of Social platforms for delivering citizen centric information.

Government and federal agencies around the world are gauging the importance of the content available and exchanged over Social Media platforms and are working towards establishing guidelines for social media record management.

In the National Archives and Records Administration bulletin 2014 (NARA Bulletin 2014), it has been mentioned that

Agencies must articulate clear processes, policies, and recordkeeping roles and responsibilities to ensure social media records are identified, managed and captured. Agencies should establish a social media working group comprising of records management staff, web managers, social media managers, information technology staff, privacy and information security staff, agency counsel, public affairs staff, and other relevant stakeholders. The social media working group should apply the definition of a Federal record to social media content and identify what constitutes a complete record, including the content, context, structure, and necessary metadata. This group should also review existing records schedules to determine if social media records are covered. In the absence of an applicable records schedule, records must be treated as permanent until they are scheduled.

Social Media Record Management is slightly different from the conventional records management, especially because of dynamic and collaborative nature of the content being managed. It also poses some unique challenges such as

  • Keeping records of content in a multichannel and multi-location collaborative environment
  • Managing ownership issues as record lies with social media sites
  • Records are frequently updated and need effective capture to ensure their authenticity and availability
  • What type of records retention schedules need to be applied and how to transfer records, and permanently delete records
  • How to apply legal holds, or perform other records management functions

Closing Remarks

The main challenge lies in achieving all these aspects of control and governance without inhibiting the open and easy exchange of social media interaction.

#Records-Management #InformationGovernance #EnterpriseContentManagement #socialmedia