Social Media Guidelines for Volunteers
Hello and welcome to EVB’s volunteer social media guide!
Firstly, thank you for offering to help us. We are a women-centred campaign that seeks to end the culture of victimisation and abuse. We provide support and education around the culture of victim blaming and promote a cultural shift in responding to victims of violence and abuse. We strive to provide a holistic, transparent and supportive service at all times.
Our campaign is for anyone who has experienced domestic and sexual violence and abuse (DSVA) and for those who wish to raise awareness about victim blaming. It is worth noting that although we welcome input from anyone, the majority of victims of DSVA are women and the majority of perpetrators are men.
This guide provides information on how to run our twitter account. Once you have your volunteer slot, sign in (username and password will be provided). Don't share the password with anyone, and don't use the account outside your slot, unless it has been agreed with a founding member.
Before we start with the guidance, the most important thing to remember is to be YOU! You are volunteering because you care about victims and victim-blaming culture. All we want is for you to be you, whilst representing EVB. To do that, just follow our guide 🙂 All of our volunteers and founding members are diverse – and we value and appreciate that. More information about our policy on equality, diversity and equal opportunity can be found at the end of the document.
The guide is divided into eight sections:
- Anonymity & confidentiality
- Direct messages
- Tweeting (with some template examples)
- Home page
- Relevant documents
- Equality, diversity and equal opportunities statement
- Volunteer contacts
1. Anonymity & confidentiality
Our campaign is anonymous and confidential - please read our policies in section 6 for details. In short, this means that – unless waived by individuals – the identity of volunteers, people who use our service, and founding members must be kept confidential at all times. It is possible that you will see identifying information about people involved with EVB (real names, location, contact information etc). It is vital that you do not share this with anyone. Any deliberate or accidental breaches of confidentiality MUST be reported to an EVB founding member as soon as possible. Many people involved with EVB are survivors and loss of confidentiality may have serious consequences.
2. Direct messages (DMs)
First thing to do is to check if there are any direct messages (DMs). If so, please DM the individual back, informing them that you will contact one of EVB’s founding members and ask them to reply when possible. Then email/DM (if you have a named contact) one of the founding members, so that they can follow it up.
A founding member may DM you during your slot, so it’s a good idea to check the DMs every so often.
Once you’ve checked DM’s open the interactions tab. It is important to keep this open during your volunteering slot. One of the founding members will have dealt with very early/late interactions so (generally) you just need to respond to those coming in during your slot.
A few tips:
- Don’t give any identifying information about yourself – name, friends, employment etc. All our tweeters need to know is that you are an EVB volunteer. More information can be found in our anonymity & confidentiality policies (referenced at the end of the guide).
- Respond politely to any praise – don’t RT. Just thank the person/organisation and show your appreciation 🙂
- Regarding criticism (it happens once in a while) if the individual is using victim blaming language – and you feel able to challenge – please do so respectfully. Example: “We at EVB find that sentence victim-blaming and we hope you could reflect upon your beliefs regarding victims.” Challenge the language/behaviour and not the person. It’s important to remember that sometimes victims engage in victim blaming – so we have to be sensitive but challenge where possible. If you find the criticism upsetting, please take time out. YOU are important to us and YOU are our priority. Just let your EVB contact know that you have signed off and they may be able to respond to the tweeter. ANY abuse from individuals does not need to be challenged – you may block – again, just let us know who it is and when it happened.
- Regarding links that are tweeted to you (blogs, media articles etc), check them out and if they tie in with victimisation, feel free to tweet them out – this engages our followers in discussion. If you are not sure whether the link is appropriate, favourite the tweet and inform the tweeter that we will check the link later.
- Regarding media contacts – we have a good relationship with some journalists and media outlets. Sometimes they may make contact regarding stories on victim blaming or posts that we have shared – to get our feedback. If this happens, let them know that you will contact a founding member and someone will get back to them on twitter, or they may DM their email address to us. Just inform your EVB contact of this discussion.
- Regarding general interaction about victimisation, feel free to be yourself, whilst keeping our values and mission statement in mind. People sometimes talk about their views and or experiences of victimisation and victim-blaming. People may express their frustration at media reports, some people may tag us into a discussion (this happens a lot). Just use your judgement as to whether our voice is required and our campaign is relevant (9 out of 10 times it is :))
- Regarding people who share their experience of victimisation: although we do not offer formal support on twitter, we engage supportively with people who interact with us – sharing our compassion, empathy and reassuring them that we believe them. Hopefully, this is something you would do anyway! If you believe that the individual requires support, check out with them if this is something that they would like, and share our Get Support page - http://everydayvictimblaming.com/get-support/ Any emergency worries, then contact one of us at EVB as soon as you can.
4. Tweeting (with some template examples)
This will be the main task as a volunteer. We mainly tweet out our posts from the website, links of interest, blog posts that we host and our policies (as well as different pages from our website). Sometimes we will tweet out media articles &/or questions regarding victim-blaming to start discussion. We may RT tweets relevant to our campaign (articles, blogs, pictures, organisations that support victims etc). We tweet often thanking our followers for their support and often to victims to reassure them that their experiences are valid. All of the above are welcome! We don’t have a standardised way of tweeting as each tweeter is different! Tweet in your own style, just keep our guidance and ethos in mind :).
If you would prefer to use templates to work from, here are some examples (in blue with purple hyperlinks):
*Note: you may copy and paste, adapt them or use them simply as guidance – it’s up to you! As long as you share our posts and website, your style is up to you.
When we gain new followers:
Hello new f11wers! Please help us to end the culture of #victimblaming by recommending us to all you can http://everydayvictimblaming.com
Engaging with our followers
Many thanks for the RTs and welcome to new f11wers! Please help us to end the culture of #victimblaming 🙂
Thanks to everyone who has RTd us today. You are helping to raise awareness about changing #victimblaming culture. Thank you! 🙂
How our followers can help us
We are here to raise awareness & change the culture of #victimblaming. If you want to help us you can get involved: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/what-you-can-do/
To promote our Get Support page
If you have been affected by abuse & would like some support, our Get Support page has a list of helpful organisations http://everydayvictimblaming.com/get-support/
We have a Get Support page for people affected by violence. If you can recommend an organisation, let us know http://everydayvictimblaming.com/get-support/
Requests for new posts on victim blaming
Have you been asked, or expected, to change your behaviour to avoid abuse? Share your experiences in confidence. http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submit-your-experience/
Submit your experiences, thoughts & views on victim blaming here: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submit-your-experience/
Sharing blog posts that we host
We host some fantastic blogs on #victimblaming here: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/links-blogs/blog-posts/ If we host your blog but we're not fllwing you, let us know!
Sharing new posts
We have had some new posts today - thank you to all who submitted, commented & shared. We will tweet these posts out again.
Please RT. Post by (name of writer, if available) “(name of post)” (web address – all posts are listed here http://everydayvictimblaming.com/view-most-recent-submissions )
Sharing our policies
Please RT. Anonymity is vital to our service. Find out why: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/news/our-policy-on-anonymity
Our campaign is confidential. We are not going to tell you how to behave, or criticise your choices. Our policies: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/data-protection-confidentiality
We're off for a little while - you can find our most recent submissions here: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/view-most-recent-submissions
Remember these are just examples – you don’t have to use them. Hopefully you will find them helpful!
5. Home page
We have a policy of following everyone who writes for us and following organisations that support our campaign. As of August 2013, we are following over 700 people. This results in a LOT of activity on our home page! When you get more experienced, you may keep an eye on our home page – for links, stories, comments, petitions relating to victim blaming. But initially, it may be overwhelming – so don’t worry too much about it!
We follow those who write for us, however we are aware that some of us inadvertently use victim blaming language. If this is the case, and it appears in our timeline, we will challenge this in order to open a discussion. We would hope the discussion would be positive, however, if this isn't the case, we will unfollow the tweeter's account without further comment.
If the tweeter wants to discuss why we have unfollowed, please inform them that we are happy for them to contact us by email email@example.com. We will not enter discussions on twitter with either the unfollowed account, or a third party, to avoid a possible 'twitterstorm' around either of our accounts.
6. Relevant documents
Before tweeting, you need to read the following documents:
- Confidentially & data protection policy http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/data-protection-confidentiality
- Anonymity policy http://everydayvictimblaming.com/news/our-policy-on-anonymity
- Code of Practice (in development - to be released soon)
- Mission Statement (in development - to be released soon)
7. Equality, diversity and equal opportunities statement
This is taken from our Code of Practice:
“We at EVB are dedicated to promoting equality and diversity issues and implementing anti-oppressive practice. We do not accept any prejudice or discrimination at EVB and will challenge and report language and behaviour based upon sex, gender, sexuality, race, socio-economic status, disability, age and faiths. To celebrate diversity and acknowledge past and current imbalances in relation to equal opportunities is vital within any organisation. All people should feel able to access our services and be treated with respect, support and understanding.”
Irrespective of your personal values and beliefs, we require you to adhere to the above statement whilst volunteering for us. Our organisation strives to be inclusive and non-judgemental. It is vital that victims and organisations can access us, irrespective of who they are and what they have experienced. We do engage with people who victim-blame when we feel safe enough to in order to raise awareness and offer support (if applicable). We will disengage/block people who continuously victim-blame, victimise others and/or who perpetrate sexual and/or domestic violence, to look after ourselves and our followers.
8. Volunteer contacts
EVB has an additional twitter account, @EVB_Vols, which will be monitored by founding members when new volunteers are on the main account. You can DM this account if you have any urgent queries. It is a protected account, and will be accepting follows from EVB volunteers only. In addition to this, we have a volunteers-only email account - firstname.lastname@example.org which can be used if you have any questions that are less urgent, or more general ones about the campaign as a whole.