NYSBA Social Media and Digital Communications
Approved by the NYSBA Executive Committee May 17, 2012
A. Policy Statement
The New York State Bar Association
(“NYSBA” or “the Association”) recognizes that
the internet, electronic communications and social media are changing
communication and information delivery. This policy is designed to
foster responsible, constructive communications via social media for
members of the Association.
This policy is intended to conform to the laws of New York State and
the United States. It should be interpreted in a manner consistent with
NYSBA bylaws and policies, including the Code of Conduct of the New
York State Bar Association already in place. This policy also
complements the Association’s guidelines for use of bulk
e-mail for communications to members. A separate policy
for Association staff has been developed as an addendum to the
B. Guiding Principles
Effectively managing and protecting NYSBA’s
confidential information is a critical responsibility for all
members. You must not speak or otherwise imply that you are
acting on behalf of the NYSBA or that you have an official NYSBA opinion
unless authorized to do so.
1. Only those officially designated in item “a” below or
by NYSBA’s executive director or his or her designee can use
social media to speak on behalf of NYSBA, though any member may use
social media to speak for themselves individually.
a. Those officially
designated to use social media to speak for the Association are the
Officers of the Association, the Executive Director, the Website editor
and the Director of Media Services or his or her specific designee - an
employee who is a direct report to the Director and who has received
training on social media and media services.
b. NYSBA will maintain the official NYSBA presence on any social
media/social networking site and may, at its discretion, create sites
for various entities, such as Sections or Committees. Only NYSBA staff
designated as social media administrators (the website editor and a
designated staff member from Media Services) may create official NYSBA
social media sites. NYSBA reserves the right to have any unofficial
pages removed by the social media/social networking site.
c. The use of the NYSBA name, logo, trademarks or other branding
elements on social networking sites is limited to NYSBA’s official
sites only; the NYSBA name, logo, trademarks or other branding elements
should be added to such sites only by NYSBA staff designated as social
media administrators. All use of NYSBA’s name, logo, trademarks or
other branding elements must comply with existing NYSBA graphic
standards and trademark/service mark policies.
d. Staff liaisons authorized by the Executive Director may post
social media communications on behalf of a group to which they are
liaison. The liaison must confine him or herself to posting only
information specific to the Section or Committee to which they are
assigned as liaison and only to the social media accounts specific to
e. NYSBA members and Section and Committee members are
encouraged to use NYSBA’s social media channels and to participate
in NYSBA’s social media communications. Any member may post to a
NYSBA social media group of which they are a member.
2. Misrepresentations made about NYSBA by
the media or analysts should be brought to the attention of the Director
of Media Services; the Director or the Director’s designated
representative will handle any response in consultation with the
Executive Director. Misrepresentations made about
NYSBA by bloggers or other social media communications on any forum,
network, group, etc. should be brought to the attention of the Manager
of Internet Services, who will handle a response in consultation with
the Executive Director and other NYSBA staff as appropriate.
3. Guidelines for member use of various social media channels:
a. NYSBA trusts and
expects members to exercise personal responsibility and to act
professionally whenever they use social media in any manner related to
b. NYSBA members are encouraged to become fans or followers of
NYSBA’s social media vehicles. Members are welcome to comment
using their own “handles” or accounts but should remember
that they are being viewed in their professional capacity and should
submit their comments accordingly and in accordance with the guidelines
in this policy.
c. NYSBA reserves the right not to friend, fan, follow, like or link
to any official social media presences accounts for any reason.
d. NYSBA social media sites exist for the exchange of substantive,
topical information by, between and for NYSBA members. Negative or
harmful conduct is prohibited, including but not limited to flame wars,
ad hominem attacks, advertising
not related to NYSBA or any types of commercial
e. Listserves remain an important benefit of NYSBA membership. In
addition to the Forum Guidelines
currently in place, NYSBA listserve users are reminded that the terms of
this policy apply to listserves as well.
All members are reminded that they are to abide by
the principles of the New York Rules of
Professional Conduct and this policy is complementary to the
- NYSBA encourages transparency and honesty in its
activities. Members must use their real names in any social media
communication that involves Association-related topics. The use of
pseudonyms and aliases is not permitted for Association
- Compensation and Incentives
a. NYSBA does not pay bloggers or anyone else
outside of NYSBA to write endorsements or create fake or misleading
social media communications
does not purchase inbound links, participate in link bartering exchanges
or use the promise of inbound links to try to convince individuals to
create positive social media communications about or on behalf of the
NYSBA’s sections and committees draft documents for internal
consideration and governance of those sections and committees and for
the Association. They also draft statements, proposed rules and a
wide variety of position papers, reports and other documents meant to
influence a wide variety of people and interests.
NYSBA supports open communication, however, open communication must
be balanced with the understanding that a draft that is still in the
formulation stage has not reached a state where the group
drafting the document has reached consensus on the position taken by the
draft. It is contrary to an open and thoughtful deliberation
process to post drafts in an area of the NYSBA website or
elsewhere that is accessible to more than the immediate
group drafting the document. In general, a group drafting a
document should refrain from posting the internal Section or Committee
deliberations, including drafts, in any public online forum or
format. Forums appropriate for discussion of drafts in formulation
stage include NYSBA listserves and collaborative workspaces provided by
NYSBA. Draft reports intended for consideration by the Executive
Committee and/or House of Delegates should be submitted to the
Association in accordance with the NYSBA reports policy.
D. Legal Matters
1. NYSBA members using social media channels with
respect to NYSBA business are expected to do so without infringing the
rights or property of others.
NYSBA members must not use social media channels to discuss
NYSBA’s legal matters, litigation, its financial performance or
other confidential information unless specifically authorized by the
NYSBA leadership. See NYSBA Ethics for
Failure to comply with these social media policies may result
a. Removal of content
without notice, of access to information and/or information
c. Discontinuance of
unauthorized social media accounts.
d. Disciplinary action in accordance with NYSBA
bylaws and policies.
Appendix A - Definitions
1. Social Media Networks and Forums – Listserves, blogs,
micro-blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube, wikis, social
networks, social bookmarking services, user rating services and any
other online applications, sharing or publishing platform, whether
accessed through the web, a mobile device, text messaging, email or any
other electronic communications platform.
2. Social Media Account – A presence or participation in a social
3. Social Media Communications – Listserves, blog posts, blog
comments, status updates, text messages, posts via email, images, audio
recordings, video recordings or any other information made available
through a social media channel. Social media communications are the
information and data a user distributes through a social media channel,
usually by means of their social media account.
4. NYSBA-related Topics – Examples of
NYSBA-related topics include news and information about our businesses,
members, affinity partners, products and services, as well as the
categories in which we compete.
5. Official Content – Content created and made available by
6. Inbound Links – An inbound link is a hyperlink that transits
from one domain to another. A hyperlink that transits from an external
domain to your own domain is referred to as inbound link. Inbound links
are important because they play a role in how search engines rank pages
and domains in search results.
7. Link Bartering Exchanges – Trading or purchasing inbound links
from other domains exclusively for the purposes of lifting your domain
in search engine page results.
8. NYSBA Branding Elements – Branding elements refer to the
name, logo, trademarks and other intellectual property of NYSBA.